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Erbitux (Cetuximab) 

Warning: Because of the required amount of precision needed when administering the shot when using Erbitux, it is always required that the shot be done only by a licensed health care professional. Heart problems (occasionally fatal) have been reported when combining this medication with radiation therapy. Tell your health care professional if you have heart disease prior to the administering of treatments with this medication. Seek medical care right away if you feel unexplained chest pain or tightness, or unexplainable pain in your jaw or arm. Allergies to this medication are quite rare, but if they do develop, they can be fairly serious. If you notice an abnormal amount of redness or swelling around the area of your injection, it’s recommended that you seek medical care as soon as you possibly can.

 

Indications:  Erbitux is a liquefied medication used to treat colorectal, and on occasion, kidney cancer. It is administered by a shot that needs to be injected, via a medical syringe, directly into the blood stream. The medication works by binding itself to a particular protein (the epidermal growth factor receptor, or the EGFR) on cancer cells, thus slowing the growth of the cells. It’s imperative that the shot be injected directly into a vein; if done improperly, the shot can do major damage. For example, if the shot is injected into the wrong area of the body, and the medicine is injected beneath a muscle, it can cause serious muscle damage.

Erbitux is sometimes used to treat other medical conditions that are mentioned in this article; talk to your physician or pharmacist for more information on Erbitux.  

Dosage: Like discussed above, the injecting of this medication must be done in a very precise manner. Thus, Erbitux injections are to be administered by a health care professional once a week. The amount of time the medicine must administered as a treatment depends on how well your health care professional feels your body is reacting to it, as well as the specifics of your medical condition.

The injection usually lasts for about two hours. However, the health care provider can alter the dosage, and recommend you to take the medication on a regular basis. Erbitux can be taken in combination with irinotecan, radiation or alone. In any case, you should not deflect the instructions recommended by your doctor. During the treatment and even after, it is important to drink plenty of water and other fluids to avoid damage to your kidneys, stomach and even your liver.

  

Overdose: the fact that Erbitux is given in hospital by health professionals, the risk of overdose is virtually nonexistent; The maximum single dose of Erbitux administered to a patient is 1000mg, and no adverse effects is reported. However, In case you are experience symptoms of overdose – severe headache, heart failure or other signs - contact your doctor immediately.  

Missing dose: Erbitux is administered in hospital; therefore, it is very important to be present at each appointment to take the medication as prescribed. If for some reasons you cannot be present, contact your oncologist before the date of the appointment. As all chemotherapy drugs, misusing Erbitux can be fatal.  

Contraindications : It is imperative that you speak with your health care professional about all possible scenarios before beginning usage of the medication. Going over all possible options, and asking important questions, will help you ensure that you’ll be getting the best type of treatments possible for your situation.

 

Erbitux is not recommended or should be used with precaution in the following conditions:  

 

  • very elderly 
  • pregnancy/breastfeeding  
  • liver failure 
  • kidney failure 
  • allergy to Erbitux or any of its ingredients  
  • cardio-respiratory disorders  
  • Severe alteration of general condition. 

Mechanism of action (MOA):  for your body to function properly, yourcells receive hormonal signals that cause them to multiply and then die (natural death of cells). Among the agents in your body that involve in these processes include the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). EGFR is a particular type of protein that exists on the cell surface, which transmits growth signals to the inside of the cell. ; EGFR is found on the surface of both cancerous and non cancerous cells.    

Interactions: Make sure to let your health care professional now of all the medications you’re already taking on prior to the administration of this medication. Do not change any of the dosage amounts on any of the other medications you’re on without the explicit recommendation of your health care professional. Tell your doctor if you are taking vitamin supplements or st john worth.

 

Consult with your doctor before taking these drugs: 

 

  • Ganciclovir - an antiviral drug
  • Azathioprine - an immune system inhibitor 
  • Barbiturates - depressant drug that causes relaxation and sleepiness
  • Cimetidine - a drug used to inhibit the production of acid in the stomach
  • Colchicines - a medication used to treat pain of gouty arthritis
  • Live vaccines: BCG vaccine, yellow fever vaccine, etc.  
  • Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), a medication of the alkylating agent family used to treat a variety of cancers 
  • Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Cytoxan, Neosar, Procytox, Revimmune), a drug used to treat several types of cancers
  • Celecoxib, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used in the treatment of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, painful menstruation, colon and rectum polyps, etc.
  • Etc.

Side effects: Erbitux can cause adverse effects in some patients. Most common Erbitux side effects include:  

  • sneezing
  • hoarseness
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • heartburn
  • decreased appetite
  • weight loss
  • light Sensitivity (Photophobia)
  • hair loss
  • dry mouth
  • dry skin
  • chapped lips
  • mouth sores
  • headache
  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • Insomnia
  • depression
  • nausea and vomiting
  • constipation
  • Stomach pain 

If the side effects above persist for weeks, contact your oncologist. In addition, contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:  

  • renal failure  
  • blood clots in the lungs 
  • unconsciousness  
  • heart attack or fast heart beat 
  • coughing up blood or dry cough 
  • shaking of the hands that you cannot control 
  • sudden tightening of the hands or feet 
  • low blood pressure (hypotension) 
  • breathing difficulty 
  • severe depression symptoms
  • sore throat or difficulty swallowing 
  • pain or burning sensation in eye(s)  
  • Infections (which can be indicated by sore throat, fever, chills).  

 

References: 

 

1 - pharmacyescrow.com 

2 - erbitux.com, Erbitux  

3 - nlm.nih.gov