​Blinatumomab (Generic Name)

Other Name: Blincyto®

About This Drug

Blinatumomab is used to treat cancer. This drug is given continuously in the vein (IV).

Possible Side Effects (More Common)

  • Bone marrow depression. This is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This may raise your risk of infection, make you tired and weak (fatigue), and raise your risk of bleeding.
  • Flu-like symptoms: fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, and fatigue (low energy, feeling weak)
  • Nausea and throwing up (vomiting). These symptoms may happen within a few hours after your treatment begins and may last during each cycle of chemotherapy. Medicines are available to stop or lessen these side effects.
  • Tumor lysis: This drug may act on the cancer cells very quickly. This may affect how your kidneys work. Your doctor will check your kidney function.

Possible Side Effects (Less Common)

  • Changes in your liver function. Your doctor will check your liver function as needed.
  • Electrolyte changes.  Your blood will be checked for electrolyte changes as needed.
  • Constipation (not able to move bowels) or loose bowel movements (diarrhea) that may last for a few days.
  • Changes in your central nervous system can happen. The central nervous system is made up of your brain and spinal cord. You could feel extreme tiredness, agitation, confusion, hallucinations (see or hear things that are not there), trouble understanding or speaking, loss of control of your bowels or bladder, eyesight changes, numbness or lack of strength to your arms, legs, face, or body, and coma. If you start to have any of these symptoms let your doctor know right away.
  • Low blood pressure.  This can make you feel dizzy or feel that your heart is racing. Your doctor will check your blood pressure as needed.

Infusion Reaction

Cytokine release syndrome (CRS): Some types of cancer drugs can cause CRS because of the effects of the drug in your body. If this happens you may feel very sick and get a fever, headache, nausea, or feel weak. You may also have changes to your blood pressure.  Because of this, your blood pressure and pulse will be checked while you are getting this drug.  Tell your doctor or nurse right away if you have any of these symptoms while you are getting this drug and for the first 24 hours after getting this drug:

  • fever, chills, or shaking chills
  • feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • headache
  • throwing up or nausea

Treating Side Effects

  • Drink 6-8 cups of fluids each day unless your doctor has told you to limit your fluid intake due to some other health problem. A cup is 8 ounces of fluid. If you throw up or have loose bowel movements, you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated (lack water in the body from losing too much fluid).
  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine that is available to help stop or lessen fever, headache, muscle and joint aches

Food and Drug Interactions

There are no known interactions of blinatumomab with food. This drug may interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs and others) that you are taking at this time. The safety and use of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often not known. Using these might 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 help.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse right away if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or higher
  • Chills
  • Easy bleeding or bruising
  • Wheezing or trouble breathing
  • Rash or itching
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) more than 4 times a day or diarrhea with weakness or lightheadedness
  • Blurred vision or other changes in eyesight
  • Pain in your lower back or side
  • Confusion or agitation
  • Throwing up more than 3 times a day
  • Signs of liver problems: dark urine, pale bowel movements, bad stomach pain, feeling very tired and weak, unusual itching, or yellowing of the eyes or skin.
  • Seizures: Common symptoms of a seizure can include confusion, blacking out, passing out, loss of hearing or vision, blurred vision, unusual smells or tastes (such as burning rubber), trouble talking, tremors or shaking in parts or all of the body, repeated body movements, tense muscles that do not relax, and loss of control of urine and bowels. There are other less common symptoms of seizures. If you or your family member suspects you are having a seizure, call 911 right away.

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

  • Nausea that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Rash that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Weight gain of 5 pounds in one week (fluid retention)
  • Lasting loss of appetite or rapid weight loss of five pounds in a week
  • Fatigue that interferes with your daily activities
  • Headache that does not go away
  • Extreme weakness that interferes with normal activities

Sexual Problems and Reproduction Concerns

  • Pregnancy warning: It is not known if this drug may harm an unborn child.  For this reason, be sure to talk with your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant while getting this drug.
  • Breast feeding warning: It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk.  For this reason, women should talk to their doctor about the risks and benefits of breast feeding during treatment with this drug because this drug may enter the breast milk and badly harm a breast feeding baby.

New Sheet: March 2015

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