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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Ixabepilone (Ixempra®)


Brand Name: Ixempra®

Ixabepilone is used for the treatment of breast cancer.

It belongs to a class of drugs known as microtubule inhibitors and works by killing cancer cells.

Ixabepilone is given by injection into a vein (intravenous). Each injection takes approximately 3 hours, and is usually given once every 3 weeks. The duration of treatment may depend on several factors, including the type of cancer being treated, how well the drug is working, and your ability to tolerate the medication and possible side effects. Your doctor will recommend the dose and schedule what is best for you. Medications to help prevent ixabepilone’s side effects may be given about an hour before the drug is administered.

Ixabepilone side effects

To prevent problematic interactions between ixabepilone 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 or kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, or any condition that causes numbness or tingling in your hands or feet. Also be sure to tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding. Ixabepilone should not be taken during breastfeeding.

Possible side effects may include:

  • Headache
  • Hair loss
  • Flaky or darkened skin
  • Problems with toenails or fingernails
  • Tender, red palms and soles of feet
  • Mouth or throat sores
  • Difficulty tasting food
  • Watery eyes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Heartburn
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue

Some of ixabepilone’s side effects can be serious. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Numbness, burning, or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hives, rash, or itching
  • Sudden reddening of the face, neck, or upper chest
  • Sudden swelling of face, throat, or tongue
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Unusual weight gain
  • Sore throat, fever, chills, or other signs of infection
  • Burning or pain when urinating

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 ixabepilone with you in detail, as well as the side effects and expectations of all other medications planned as part of your individualized treatment plan.

Ixabepilone for cancer treatment

Ixabepilone is approved by the FDA for the following cancer treatments:

  • In combination with capecitabine for the treatment of metastatic or locally advanced breast cancer that has worsened following treatment with an anthracycline and a taxane
  • As a single agent for the treatment of metastatic or locally advanced breast cancer after failure of an anthracycline, a taxane, and capecitabine

At 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.

The information provided here is for educational purposes only. In no way should it be considered as offering medical advice. Cancer Treatment Centers of America assumes no responsibility for how this material is used. Please check with a physician if you suspect you are ill. Also note that while Cancer Treatment Centers of America frequently updates its contents, medical information changes rapidly. Therefore, some information may be out of date.