Other names: Vectibix®
About this drug
This drug is used to treat cancer. It is given by IV (intravenously).
Possible side effects
Tell your doctor or nurse immediately if you have any of the following symptoms of a serious infusion reaction (while you are receiving this drug by IV):
- Difficulty catching your breath or wheezing
- Feeling as if your tongue or throat is swelling
- Feeling your heart beat rapidly (palpitations)
- Flushing, itching, rash, or hives
- Chest pain
- Fever, chills, or shaking chills
- Trouble breathing
- Dizziness or light-headedness
Other side effects may occur later. These include:
- Skin changes, such as a rash (which may look like acne), redness, itchiness, dry skin, cracked skin, peeling skin, or signs of possible infection. This drug may affect the skin around your nails (cuticles).
- Eye and eyelid irritation or increased tears. An increased growth of eyelashes may occur but is rare.
- Sensitivity to light (photosensitivity). Photosensitivity means that you may become more sensitive to the effects of the sun, sun lamps, and tanning beds.
- Low blood pressure. You may feel dizzy when standing up from lying down or sitting.
- Lung tissue changes, called pulmonary fibrosis. You may develop a cough or have difficulty catching your breath. Your doctor will monitor your lungs as needed. This side effect is rare.
- Abdominal pain
- Changes in bowel movements. Some patients have diarrhea. Other patients have constipation.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Soreness of the mouth and throat. You may have red areas, white patches, or sores that are painful.
- Swelling (fluid retention) in the legs, ankles, and/or feet
- Electrolyte changes. Blood tests will be used to check your electrolytes as needed.
This drug may have harmful effects on an unborn child. For this reason, be sure to use effective methods of birth control during your cancer treatment. Discuss effective methods of birth control with your physician.
If you are exposed to this drug while pregnant, ask to speak to a genetic counselor. A genetic counselor can review the potential risks of problems with the fetus and with future pregnancies.
In men and women, this drug may temporarily or permanently affect your ability to have children. There is no way to know before your therapy if you will be affected. In men, this drug may interfere with your ability to make sperm, but it should not change your ability to have sexual relations. In women, menstrual bleeding may become irregular or stop while you are receiving this drug. However, even if you do not have a menstrual period, it is still possible to become pregnant.
Women are advised not to breast feed during treatment and for 2 months after the last dose. This drug could enter the breast milk and seriously harm a breastfed infant.
Treating side effects
- Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine to help prevent or lessen nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
- If you have been vomiting or had diarrhea, drink plenty of fluids unless your doctor has told you to limit your fluid intake because of another medical condition. It is important that you do not become dehydrated.
- If you are constipated, ask your doctor or nurse about medicines and diet that may help you move your bowels regularly. Do not use enemas, laxatives, or suppositories without checking with your doctor or nurse.
- If you have a rash, redness, itchiness, or skin that is dry or cracked, keep the area clean and dry. Do not put anything on it unless your doctor or nurse says you may.
- Cover up when you are out in the sun. Wear wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants. Keep your neck, chest, and back covered. Use sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher when you are out in the sun even for a short time. Avoid sun lamps, tanning booths, and tanning beds.
- Mouth care is very important. Brush your teeth gently with a very soft tooth brush. Rinse your mouth with a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water, or 1/2 teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) in 8 ounces of water. This should be done at least after every meal and at bed time. Avoid mouthwash that contains alcohol. Avoid alcohol and smoking
because they can irritate your mouth and throat.
- Be careful when standing up from a lying or sitting position. You may feel dizzy.
Food and drug interactions
There are no known interactions of panitumumab with food. This drug may interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medication 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
Tell your doctor or nurse immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath and/or pain when breathing in (inhaling)
- Diarrhea of 5 or 6 stools in one day or diarrhea with weakness
- Uncontrolled nausea that prevents you from eating or drinking
- Vomiting more than 3 times in one day
- Skin changes such as sores, rash, reddened areas, or itchiness
- Eye and eyelid irritation or increased tears
Tell your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain that doesn’t get better when you take prescribed medicine
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation that doesn’t get better when you take prescribed medicine
- Painful mouth or throat
- Inability to eat or drink
- Swelling of your feet or lower legs