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Bevacizumab (Avastin ) 


Warning: Bevacizumab is a medication that has associated with a number of serious side-effects. Severe, potentially fatal bleeding (hemorrhage) can occur while taking this medication. The incidence of gastrointestinal perforation is higher in people being treated with Bevacizumab than for people who are not using this medication. Elective surgery should be avoided while on Bevacizumab because of the difficulty this medication can cause to the wound healing process. If you are going to have elective surgery, you should discontinue Bevacizumab at least 28 days before surgery and you shouldn’t start taking Bevacizumab again until at least 28 days after surgery has been completed. Even if you don’t have surgery, any wounds you sustain while on Bevacizumab may have trouble healing. Be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist to get more details about the warnings and precautions associated with this medication.  

 

Indications: Bevacizumab is also known by its brand name Avastin. Is is  an anti-cancer drug that works by stopping the blood flow to tumors; without a blood supply, the tumors with shrink and die off. Your doctor may prescribe Bevacizumab as part of the treatment for kidney, colon, or rectal cancer. If you have non-small cell lung cancer or certain tumors related to brain cancer, your doctor may also prescribe a treatment of Bevacizumab. Sometimes, the drug is also used to treat ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, and pancreatic cancer.

Dosage: Bevacizumab comes in two sizes, 100 mg vials and 400 mg vials. Your doctor will prescribe the correct amount of this medication for you based on your body size; later your dosage may be adjusted as your doctor monitors your treatment. Bevacizumab is a liquid medication that is delivered to your body intravenously, or through a vein. Due to the nature of this medication’s administration, you will need to have each dose given to you by a doctor or nurse. Only a health care professional should administer a dose of Bevacizumab; you should never try to give yourself a treatment. The length and frequency of each treatment session will vary from patient to patient; however, the first treatment session is usually longer than any following sessions.  

Interactions: The FDA has not yet found any medications that will interact with Bevacizumab. However, because certain prescription and non-prescription products may potentially interfere with the action of Bevacizumab, you should tell your doctor about any herbal products, nutritional supplements (such as vitamins), prescription, and non-prescription drugs you are taking.

 

Contraindications: Recent major surgery, kidney disease, blood clots, heart disease, recent bloody vomit or coughing up blood, high blood pressure, fistula, and stomach or intestinal ulcers are all contraindications for the use of Bevacizumab. Before you begin any treatment sessions, you should tell your doctor if you have or have had any of these conditions. You can ask your doctor for a full list of contraindications.  

 

Side effects:  Bevacizumab can bring good results in some cancer patients; however, it tends to cause the following adverse effects in most cancer patients undergoing the treatment:   

  • redness, itching, or scaling of the skin
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • bleeding nose
  • bleeding gums
  • taste Changes
  • dry mouth
  • decreased appetite
  • heartburn
  • diarrhea
  • weight loss
  • Sores on the skin or in the mouth 

Although rare, the following side effects can be associated wit taking Bevacizumab. See your health care provider immediately if you experience any of these symptoms: 

  • fainting
  • seizures
  • chest/neck pain
  • shortness of breath
  • loss of vision
  • severe depression
  • vomiting Blood
  • black or bloody stools
  • dry, hacking cough

 

  • severe vaginal bleeding
  • slow or difficult speech
  • weakness or numbness of an arm or leg
  • dizziness, faintness or confusion
  • coughing, gagging, or choking
  • Severe headache (which can be a sign of overdose)
  • Pain or swelling of the face, eyes, stomach
  • painful and swelling hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs.