The Web Health



Brand name: Erbitux
Intravenous Solution (2 mg/ml)
Drug class: EGFR inhibitors

What is Cetuximab?

Cetuximab can be used to treat cancers in the colon or rectum. It can also be used to treat cancers of the head and neck.Cetuximab can be used in other ways not mentioned in this guide.

Side effects of Cetuximab

If you experience symptoms of an allergic response (hives or difficulty breathing, swelling on your face or in your throat) or a severe reaction to the skin (fever or sore neck, skin pain or burning, or a red or purple rash with blistering or peeling), seek emergency medical attention.

Some side effects can occur during or after the infusion. Inform your carer immediately in case you experience shortness of breath, nausea, weakness, dizziness, or chest pain. If you notice wheezing or noisy breathing or have chest discomfort, tell them right away.

Cetuximab can cause serious side effects. If you experience:

  • Eye pain or redness; puffy eyelids; drainage or crusting on your eyelids; vision problems or increased sensitivity towards light
  • A new or worsening chest pain, shortness of breath,
  • A severe skin rash, such as acne or a severe rash
  • Redness or crusting on your hair follicles.
  • Redness, warmth, or swelling under the skin;
  • Slow heartbeats (weak pulse), fainting, and slow breathing
  • Blisters or ulcers on your lips, red or swollen gingivae, difficulty swallowing
  • Low white blood cell count—fevers, mouth sores, and skin sores; sore throats, coughs, difficulty breathing
  • Signs of electrolyte depletion include increased thirst, urination, or muscle cramps.

Some of the common side effects associated with cetuximab include:

  • Rash or itching
  • Changes in the fingernails and toenails
  • Dry, cracked, or swollen skin;
  • Headache;
  • Diarrhoea;
  • Infection.

There may be other side effects. Call your physician if experiencing side effects; alternatively, the FDA can be reached at 1-800-FDA-1088 - you can report adverse events here as well.

Similar/related drugs

Yervoy, methotrexate, Keytruda, Capecitabine, fluorouracil, pembrolizumab, and Avastin


Cetuximab can cause life-threatening effects in some patients. After each dose, your carers will closely monitor you.This medicine can cause side effects when injected directly into your vein. If you experience dizziness, fever, itchiness, or shortness of breath, tell your carer immediately.Cetuximab may have a long-lasting effect on your body. You may require frequent medical testing for up to 8 weeks following your last dose.

Before you take this drug

This medicine should not be used if you have an allergy to cetuximab or mouse protein.

Tell your doctor immediately of any of the following conditions:

  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Lung disease or a breathing disorder;
  • Congestive heart failure;
  • Coronary artery disease
  • An electrolyte imbalance can occur when there is a low level of magnesium or potassium in the blood.

If you have ever been bitten by or allergic to red meat, tell your doctor. You may have a greater chance of experiencing certain reactions if you are allergic to red meat or have been bitten by a tick.Cetuximab can harm an unborn child. Prevent pregnancy by using effective contraception while taking this medication and for 2 months following your last dose. Inform your doctor immediately if you fall pregnant.Do not breastfeed for 2 months after the last dose of this medication.

How to take cetuximab?

Cetuximab can be infused into a vein. Healthcare provider will administer this injection.The infusion of cetuximab can take as long as 2 hours. Other medications may be prescribed to prevent severe side effects or an allergic reaction.Cetuximab can be used in conjunction with other cancer medications or radiation therapy. After your cetuximab, you may be given another cancer medication.

Cetuximab can cause life-threatening effects in some patients. Your carers will monitor you carefully to ensure you don't have any serious side effects.Cetuximab should be given until the body stops responding to it. Do not forget to follow your doctor's instructions.Frequent medical examinations may be necessary in order to ascertain that this medication does not pose any harmful adverse side effects. The results may delay your cancer treatment.Cetuximab may have long-lasting effects. You may require medical testing for up to 8 weeks following your last dose.

What happens if I miss the dose?

If you are unable to keep your appointment for cetuximab, call your doctor and ask for further instructions.

What happens if I overdose?

Dial 1-800-222-1222 immediately in case of poisoning and seek immediate medical advice or services.

What should be avoided?

Cetuximab may make you burn more quickly. Do not expose yourself to sunlight or tanning booths while receiving cetuximab and for 2 months following the end of your treatment. When you're outdoors, wear protective clothing and use sunblock with a SPF of 30 or more.

Interaction with other drug

Cetuximab can be affected by other drugs, such as prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Inform your doctor of all the medicines you are currently taking and those that you will begin or stop using.