Brand Name: Campath®
Alemtuzumab is used to treat B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL).
Alemtuzumab is a monoclonal antibody, which belongs to the type of cancer drugs known as biologics or targeted therapy. In B-CLL, too many of a certain type of white blood cell have accumulated in the body. Alemtuzumab triggers the immune system to destroy these cancer cells.
Given as an injection into a vein (intravenously), each injection usually takes 2 hours or more. The dose may be gradually increased over a few days as your body adjusts to the medication. After that introductory period, alemtuzumab is usually given 3 times per week on alternating days, generally for up to 12 weeks. Your doctor will recommend the exact length of time for which you should receive alemtuzumab.
Alemtuzumab side effects
To prevent problematic interactions between alemtuzumab and other drugs, be sure to tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications, and what other medications and supplements you are currently taking. You should also inform your doctor if you have or ever had a liver tumor, liver disease, or kidney disease, if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding. Alemtuzumab should not be taken during breastfeeding.
Possible side effects may include:
- Stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
- Mouth sores
- Difficulty sleeping
- Uncontrollable shaking of a body part
- Muscle pain
Some of alemtuzumab’s side effects can be serious. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Unusual bruising or bleeding
- Small reddish or purple blood spots on your body
- Pale skin
- Excessive tiredness
- Sore throat, fever, chills or other signs of infection
People taking alemtuzumab may bleed heavily from minor cuts or scrapes. Make sure to use a soft toothbrush on your teeth, and an electric razor for shaving, and take precautions to avoid injury.
Please note that this is not a comprehensive list. Patients may experience additional effects not mentioned above.
At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), your team of cancer experts will explain each of the side effects of alemtuzumab with you in detail, as well as the side effects and expectations of all other medications planned as part of your individualized treatment plan.
Alemtuzumab for cancer treatment
Alemtuzumab is approved by the FDA for the treatment of:
- Patients with B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) who have not received prior therapy
- Patients with B-CLL who have already been treated with alkylating agents (a class of chemotherapy drugs) and whose disease has progressed after treatment with fludarabine
For both indications, alemtuzumab is approved for use as a single agent.
At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), our integrative approach to cancer treatment works to fight your disease on all fronts and ensures that you remain at the center of everything we do. We encourage participation from both you and your family to make certain you are comfortable with all decisions made regarding your treatment.