Eribulin (Generic Name)

Other Names: Halaven®

About This Drug

Eribulin is a drug used to treat cancer. This drug is given intravenously (IV).

Possible Side Effects (More Common)

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bone marrow depression. This is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Bone marrow depression usually occurs 7 to 10 days after the drug is given and may increase your risk of infection, fatigue, and bleeding.
  • Hair loss is usually complete scalp hair loss and can include loss of eyebrows, eyelashes, and pubic hair. You may notice this a few days or weeks after treatment has begun. Usually hair loss is temporary; your hair should grow back when treatment is completed.
  • Constipation 
  • Weight loss
  • Changes in your liver function. Your liver function will be monitored as needed.
  • Flu-like symptoms: fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, and fatigue.
  • Effects on the nerves called peripheral neuropathy. You may feel numbness or tingling in your hands and feet. It may be difficult for you to button your clothes, open jars, or walk normally. The effect on the nerves may get worse with additional doses of the drug. These effects get better in some people after the drug is stopped, but may not get better in some people.
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Possible Side Effects (Less Common)

  • Changes in your heart function.  Your doctor will monitor your heart function as needed.
  • Limb pain

Sexual Problems and Reproduction Concerns

In both men and women, this drug may temporarily or permanently affect your ability to have children. This cannot be determined before your therapy. 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 taking this drug. Do not assume that you cannot become pregnant if you do not have a menstrual period. Women may experience signs of menopause such as vaginal dryness or itching.

  • Pregnancy warning: This drug may have harmful effects on the unborn child, so effective methods of birth control should be used during your cancer treatment.
  • Speak with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children. Ask for information on sperm or egg banking. 
  • Genetic counseling is available to you to discuss the effect of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. In addition, a genetic counselor can review the potential risks of problems in the fetus due to this medicine if an exposure during pregnancy has occurred.  
  • Breast feeding warning: It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. For this reason, women are advised to discuss with their doctor the risks and benefits of breast feeding during treatment with this drug, because this drug may enter the breast milk and seriously harm a breast-feeding infant.
  • Vaginal lubricants can be used to lessen vaginal dryness, itching, and pain during sexual relations.

Treating Side Effects

  • Drink 6 to 8 cups of fluids every day unless your doctor has told you to restrict your fluid intake due to another medical condition. A cup is 8 ounces of fluid. If you vomit or have diarrhea, you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated.
  • Speak with your nurse about obtaining a wig before you lose your hair. Also, call the American Cancer Society at 800-ACS-2345 to find out information about the “ Look Good ... Feel Better” program close to where you live. It is a free program for women undergoing chemotherapy to learn about wigs, turbans, and scarves as well as makeup techniques and skin and nail care.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine to help prevent or lessen constipation, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Check with your doctor or nurse before you use enemas, laxatives, or suppositories.

Food and Drug Interactions

There are no known interactions of eribulin 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 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

Call your doctor or nurse immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or above
  • Chills
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Trouble breathing
  • Feeling your heart beat rapidly (palpitations)
  • Uncontrolled nausea that prevents you from eating or drinking
  • Vomiting multiple times in one day

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

  • Signs of peripheral neuropathy: numbness, tingling, or decreased sensation in fingers or toes
  • Joint and muscle pain unrelieved by prescribed medicine
  • Weight loss
  • Signs of liver problems: dark urine, pale stools, severe stomach pain, severe tiredness or weakness, unusual itching, or yellowing of the eyes
  • Constipation unrelieved by bowel regime recommended by nurse or doctor

Revised September 2011

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