Ixabepilone (Generic Name)
Other Names: Ixempra®
About This Drug
Ixabepilone is used to treat cancer. It is given in the vein (IV).
Possible Side Effects (More Common)
- Effects on the nerves are called peripheral neuropathy. You may feel numbness, tingling, or pain in your hands and feet. It may be hard for you to button your clothes, open jars, or walk as usual. The effect on the nerves may get worse with more doses of the drug. These effects get better in some people after the drug is stopped but it does not get better in all people.
- 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.
- Generalized weakness and discomfort (aches or pains)
- Hair loss: Most often hair loss is temporary. Your hair should grow back when treatment is done.
- Nausea and throwing up (vomiting). These symptoms may happen within a few hours after your treatment and may last up to 24 hours. Medicines are available to stop or lessen these side effects.
- Soreness of the mouth and throat. You may have red areas, white patches, or sores that hurt.
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) that may last for a few days
Possible Side Effects (Less Common)
- Constipation (not able to move bowels)
- Darkening of the skin or nails
While you are getting this drug in your vein (IV), you may have a reaction to the drug. Your nurse will check you closely for these signs: fever or shaking chills, flushing, facial swelling, feeling dizzy, headache, trouble breathing, rash, itching, chest tightness, or chest pain. These reactions may happen for up to 24 hours after your infusion. If this happens, call 911 for emergency care.
Serious allergic reactions including anaphylaxis are rare. While you are getting this drug in your vein (IV), tell your nurse right away if you have any of these symptoms of an allergic reaction:
- trouble catching your breath
- feeling like your tongue or throat are swelling
- feeling your heart beat quickly or in a not normal way (palpitations)
- feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- flushing, itching, rash, and/or hives
Treating Side Effects
- If you have numbness and tingling in your hands and feet, be careful when cooking, walking, and handling sharp objects and hot liquids.
- Talk with your nurse about getting 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 where women getting chemotherapy can learn about wigs, turbans and scarves as well as makeup techniques and skin and nail care.
- 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 due to losing too much fluid).
- Mouth care is very important. Your mouth care should consist of routine, gentle cleaning of your teeth or dentures and rinsing your mouth with a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water or ½ teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of water. This should be done at least after each meal and at bedtime.
- If you have mouth sores, avoid mouthwash that has alcohol. Also avoid alcohol and smoking because they can bother your mouth and throat.
- Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine that is available to help stop or lessen the loose bowel movements.
- Ask your doctor or nurse about medicines that are available to help stop or lessen constipation.
- If you are not able to move your bowels, check with your doctor or nurse before you use enemas, laxatives, or suppositories.
Food and Drug Interactions
- There are known interactions of ixabepilone with grapefruit. Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while taking this drug.
- This drug may interact with other medications. 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
- Easy bleeding or bruising
- Wheezing or trouble breathing
- Rash or itching
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Feeling that your heart is beating in a fast or not normal way (palpitations)
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) more than 4 times a day or diarrhea with weakness or lightheadedness
- Blurred vision or other changes in eyesight
- Confusion or agitation
- Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking
- Throwing up more than 3 times a day
- Chest pain or symptoms of a heart attack. Most heart attacks involve pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes. The pain may go away and come back. It can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. Sometimes pain is felt in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach. If any of these symptoms last 2 minutes, call 911.
- Symptoms of a stroke such as sudden numbness or weakness of your face, arm, or leg, mostly on one side of your body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, feeling dizzy, loss of balance or coordination; or sudden, bad headache with no known cause. If you have any of these symptoms for 2 minutes, call 911.
- 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
Call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if any of these symptoms happen:
- Blurred vision or other changes in eyesight
- Decreased urine
- Unusual thirst or passing urine often
- Pain in your mouth or throat that makes it hard to eat or drink
- Nausea that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
- Rash that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
- Heavy menstrual period that lasts longer than normal
- Numbness, tingling, decreased feeling or weakness in fingers, toes, arms, or legs
- Trouble walking or changes in the way you walk, feeling clumsy when buttoning clothes, opening jars, or other routine hand motions
- Swelling of legs, ankles, or feet
- 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
- Painful, red, or swollen areas on your hands or feet.
- No bowel movement for 3 days or you feel uncomfortable
- Extreme weakness that interferes with normal activities
- No bowel movement in 3 days or when you feel uncomfortabl
- 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.
- Genetic counseling is available for you to talk about the effects of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. Also, a genetic counselor can look at the possible risk of problems in the unborn baby due to this medicine if an exposure happens during pregnancy.
- 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 education sheet: September 2015