Avastin Side Effects

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Avastin®, the brand name for bevacizumab injection, is a prescription drug used to treat cancer. The medication works by blocking the growth of new blood vessels that feed cancerous tumors, thus interfering with the growth of the cancer cells. Avastin® is used in combination with other cancer medications in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, as well as cancers of the brain, colon, rectum, kidney and lung. Administered intravenously with a needle, Avastin® is only given by medical professionals in a hospital setting, where can take up to 90 minutes to complete a dosage. Dosages are usually administered every two weeks.

Side effects of Avastin® include passing out, reduced appetite, skin sores, vocal changes, heartburn and diarrhea. In severe cases, Avastin® can cause perforation of the stomach or intestine, internal bleeding, cardiovascular problems, kidney problems, infertility, and vision impairment.


Avastin.jpg
[Genentech]
Brand name for Bevacizumab Injection
Manufacturer Genentech
Uses Approved in conjunction with chemotherapy in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer, glioblastoma, metastatic kidney cancer, and metastatic colorectal cancer
Common side effects Headache, nasal inflammation, nosebleeds, high blood pressure, too much protein in the urine, dry skin, rectal bleeding, back pain, skin inflammation
Who should not take Avastin Pregnant or breastfeeding women, candidates for surgery, children
Disclaimer The information provided by PharmacyDrugGuide.com is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Do not take any action based on the information on this page without consulting a physician.
Author Laura Acevedo
 
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Contents

Common Avastin Side Effects

Many people experience minimal side effects when on this drug therapy. Common side effects of Avastin® can include dizziness, fainting, nosebleeds, bleeding gums, weakness, loss of appetite, heartburn, change in ability to taste food, diarrhea, weight loss, dry mouth, sores on the skin or in the mouth, and voice changes.


More serious side effects, which necessitate medical intervention, include:

  • Potentially fatal cardiovascular problems including blood clots, strokes and mini-strokes, heart attacks, and chest pain
  • Too much protein in the urine, which may lead to potentially fatal kidney problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Nervous system and vision disturbances may cause high blood pressure, headaches, seizures, lethargy, confusion, and sometimes blindness
  • Infusion reactions may include redness and swelling at the injection site, high blood pressure, difficulty breathing, decreased oxygen in red blood cells, chest pain, headaches, tremors, excessive sweating, and allergic reactions.


Potential conditions to be closely monitored while taking Avastin® include:[1]

  • Gastrointestinal (GI) perforation
  • Slow or incomplete wound healing
  • Severe bleeding indicated by coughing up blood, gastrointestinal bleeding, vomiting of blood, intracranial bleeding, nosebleeds, and vaginal bleeding.
  • Fertility impairment
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Drug Side Effects

Potential adverse reactions of medications like Avastin

Avastin Allergic Reactions

In rare cases, some patients may exhibit allergic symptoms to Avastin®, either due to active ingredient bevacizumab or any of the inactive components. Patients are advised to discuss any drug allergies with their physicians in order to minimize the risk of an allergic reaction to Avastin®. Severe allergies may result in anaphylactic shock, which can lead to death.[2]

Avastin Precautions and Warnings

Prior to receiving Avastin® injections, patients are advised to discuss medical history with their physicians, particularly if the following apply: history of kidney disease, heart disease, heart attack, stroke, blood clots, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, current infection or fever, plans to have surgery, or allergies to certain foods, dyes or preservatives.

Patients taking Avastin® are advised not to undergo surgery, as doing so may result in excessive bleeding or delays in healing. Those who do have surgery performed are requested to avoid Avastin® for four weeks after the procedure for optimal recovery. Doctors recommend collecting urine samples of Avastin® patients regularly for testing, as well as monitoring blood pressure.

Avastin® users are advised not to get any vaccines without first consulting a doctor.[2]

Elderly patients are more susceptible to adverse reactions like excess protein in the urine and blood clotting.[2]

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References

  1. http://www.gene.com/gene/products/information/pdf/avastin-prescribing.pdf
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 http://www.webmd.com/drugs/drug-78649-AVASTIN+Intravenous.aspx?drugid=78649&drugname=AVASTIN+Intravenous