Ibritumomab Tiuxetan (Generic Name)

Other Names: Yttrium-90 Zevalin™

About this drug

Ibritumomab tiuxetan is used to treat cancer. It is a combination of rituximab, a special type of antibody used to treat cancer, and yttrium-90, a radioactive element that has been shown to be effective against cancer. This drug is given intravenously (IV).

Possible side effects

Serious allergic reaction may occur during the time you are receiving this drug by IV infusion. Tell your doctor or nurse immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty catching your breath
  • Feeling like your tongue or throat is swelling
  • Feeling your heart beat rapidly (palpitations)
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

Less serious reaction to this drug may occur. You will be given medicine to help prevent or lessen these symptoms. Your vital signs will be monitored during the infusion.

Tell your doctor or nurse immediately if you have any of the following symptoms at any time during the infusion or for the first 24 hours after the infusion:

  • Fever, chills, or shaking chills
  • Hives, itchy skin, or rash
  • Flushing trouble breathing
  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Lower belly or back pain
  • Weakness
  • Throat irritation
  • Cough
  • Effects on an unborn child. This drug may have harmful effects on an unborn child. Use effective methods of birth control during your cancer treatment. Genetic counseling is available to you to discuss the effect of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. If you are pregnant or become pregnant, talk with a genetic counselor. He or she can review the potential risks to the fetus.
  • Bone marrow depression. For a few months after receiving this drug, bone marrow depression may occur. This is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. It may increase your risk for infection, fatigue, and bleeding. Bone marrow depression may occur as late as 2 months following treatment and may last for several months.

Treating side effects

  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine that is available to help prevent or lessen nausea, vomiting, or headache.

Other instructions

Radiation from yttrium-90 does not penetrate to the outside of the body, but a small amount of radiation may be present in body fluids, such as blood and urine, for about a week following treatment. Wash your hands thoroughly after passing urine and use a condom during sex for 1 week following treatment. It is not necessary to avoid contact with friends or family during this time. Patients usually can return to work and other activities following treatment. Your doctor will give you instructions.

Food and drug interactions

There are no known interactions of this drug with food. This drug may interact with other medicine. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs, and others) that you are currently taking. The safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often unknown. Using these might unexpectedly affect your cancer or interfere with your treatment. Until more is known, you should not use dietary supplements or alternative diets without your cancer doctor’s advice.

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor or nurse immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Redness, pain, warmth, or swelling at the IV site
  • Temperature of 100.5 F (38 C) or above
  • Chills
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Uncontrolled nausea that prevents you from eating or drinking
  • Vomiting more than 3 times in 1 day
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Severe headache
  • Severe stomach pain with nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain


Call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Lower belly pain or nausea that prescribed medicine doesn’t help
  • Headache that prescribed medicine doesn’t help
  • Extreme tiredness that interferes with normal activities
  • Persistent loss of appetite or rapid weight loss of 5 pounds in 1 week
  • Rash that is bothersome

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