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Avastin

Generic name: bevacizumab [bev-a-CIZ-oo-mab]
Drug class: VEGF/VEGFR inhibitors

What is Avastin?

Avastin is combined with other chemotherapy drugs to treat certain types of cancer, including colon and rectal cancers (cancers that begin in the large intestine), NSCLC (non-small cell lung carcinoma), glioblastoma, and renal cell cancer.Avastin can also be used in conjunction with atezolizumab (Tecentriq) to treat hepatocellular cancer (HCC) in patients who have never received chemotherapy and whose HCC has spread or is not able to be removed surgically.Avastin is a member of a group of drugs called antiangiogenic agents. Bevacizumab stops the formation of blood vessels that bring oxygen and nutrients to tumors. This could slow tumour growth and spread.

Warnings

Avastin may make you more likely to bleed. If the bleeding is not stopping, seek emergency medical care. There may be bleeding inside your body.If you experience signs that there is bleeding in your digestive system—feeling very weak or dizzy; severe stomach pain; bloody or tarry stool; or vomiting blood or coffee grounds, signs that there is bleeding in the head—sudden numbness, weakness, or slurred words.Avastin may also affect wound healing. This could lead to bleeding or infection. Avastin should not be used within 28 days of a planned surgery.Bevacizumab may cause a serious but rare neurologic disorder that affects the brain. Headache, confusion, vision issues, fatigue, feeling weak or faint, convulsions, or blackouts are all symptoms. These rare side effects may appear within hours after taking your first Avastin dose or up to one year later. If any of the symptoms listed here appear, call your physician immediately for treatment.Avastin can cause a reaction in some people. If you experience any of the following symptoms during an Avastin injection: nausea, dizziness, sweating, itching, a fast heartbeat, chest pain, a rapid heartbeat, or wheezing

Before you take this drug

Avastin may not be suitable for you if:

  • Ovarian cancer with symptoms like severe abdominal pain or pelvic discomfort;
  • Slow healing of a surgical incision or a wound on the skin;
  • Surgery in the last 28 days (four weeks);
  • You plan to have surgery in the next 28 days (four weeks).
  • Vomit or blood that looks like coffee grounds

Tell your doctor about any of the following to ensure that avastin will be safe for you:

  • Diabetes;
  • Heart problems, such as a heart attack or stroke, blood clots, or blood clotting disorders;
  • High blood pressure
  • If you have bleeding problems, a perforation in your stomach, intestines, or oesophagus;
  • Kidney disease is a serious condition.

Bevacizumab may harm an unborn baby.If you suspect pregnancy, taking a pregnancy test may be important to ensure safe gestational progression and outcomes. While using Avastin and for 6 months following your last dose, use birth control. Inform your doctor immediately if you become pregnant.Avastin can cause the ovaries of a woman to stop functioning correctly. Three or more missed periods in a row are symptoms of ovarian dysfunction. You may have a harder time getting pregnant when you use this medication and afterward. Speak to your doctor regarding your personal risk.Do not breastfeed while taking this medicine or for 6 months following your last dose.Avastin is given by mouth.Avastin can be given by infusion through a vein. This injection will be given by a healthcare provider.If you experience nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, sweating, a headache, or chest pain, tell your carers immediately.Avastin can be given every 2 to 3 weeks.Weight is taken into account when determining the dose. Your dose may change if and when you gain or lose weight.Your cancer treatment may be delayed due to the results of your medical tests.

How to take Avastin?

If you missed your Avastin appointment, call your doctor to get instructions.

What happens if I miss the dose?

In a medical environment, an overdose is treated immediately.

What happens if I overdose?

Avoid any activity that could increase your risk of bleeding or injury. Take extra care when shaving or brushing your teeth.

Side effects of Avastin

If you experience any of the following symptoms of an Avastin allergy: difficulty breathing, hives, swelling in your lips, face, throat, or tongue, seek emergency medical attention.During the injection, some side effects can occur. You should tell your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms: nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, itching, sweating, headaches, chest pain, or back pain.Bevacizumab may cause a rare but serious neurologic disorder affecting the brain. The symptoms may appear within hours after taking your first dose, or they may take up to one year. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience: extreme fatigue or weakness; headache; confusion; or vision problems.

Bevacizumab may cause bleeding. If you experience:

  • Easy bruising or bleeding that won't stop
  • Signs of bleeding in the digestive tract: severe stomach pain; bloody or tarry stool; coughing blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds or
  • Signs of Brain Bleeding: sudden numbness, weakness, slurred or distorted speech, severe headaches, vision or balance problems

Avastin can cause a perforation or fistula in the lungs, stomach, intestines, or bladder. If you experience severe stomach pain or feel as if your throat is closing up when you drink or eat, call your doctor.

Call your doctor immediately if you:

  • Slow wound healing
  • Open sores or skin infections
  • Missed menstrual cycles
  • Kidney disease: swelling, less urination, feeling tired, or short of breath
  • Signs and symptoms of a blood clot: chest pains, sudden cough, shortness of breath, dizziness or fainting, coughing blood, pain or swelling in a leg, or warmth;
  • Heart problem: chest pain, pressure, or swelling. Nausea: sweating, swelling, or rapid weight gain.
  • Low counts of white blood cells; fever; mouth sores; and skin sores.

If you experience certain side effects, your cancer treatment may be postponed or discontinued permanently.

Avastin may cause the following side effects:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Back pain and headaches
  • Dry or watery eyes
  • Dry or flaky skin
  • Stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing,
  • Changes in taste

There may be other side effects. For medical advice on side effects, call your doctor. The FDA can be contacted at 1-800-FDA-1088 to report side effects.

Interaction with other drug

Inform your doctor of all cancer treatments that you have received.Bevacizumab may interact with other drugs, such as prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Inform your doctor of all the other medications you take.