Palifermin (Generic Name)

Other Names: Kepivance

About this drug

This drug is used to reduce the risk of developing painful mouth sores associated with cancer treatment. It also helps mouth sores to heal faster. This drug is given intravenously (IV).

Possible side effects

  • Numbness and tingling in and around the mouth
  • Change in the color of your tongue
  • Feeling that your tongue is thicker
  • Taste changes
  • Rash, red or itchy skin, or swelling of the skin
  • Fever
  • Joint and muscle discomfort
  • Effects on an unborn child; This drug may have harmful effects on an unborn child. For this reason, be sure to use effective methods of birth control during cancer treatment and for 2 weeks after stopping this drug. If you are exposed to this drug while pregnant, ask to speak to a genetic counselor. A genetic counselor can review the potential risks of problems with the fetus and with future pregnancies.
  • Breastfeeding; Women are advised not to breastfeed during treatment because this drug could enter the breast milk and seriously harm a breastfeeding infant.

Treating side effects

  • Follow the instructions from your nurse about mouth care. Avoid mouthwash that contains alcohol. Avoid alcohol and smoking because they can irritate your mouth and throat.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medication that is available to help prevent or lessen pain or joint and muscle discomfort.
  • Do not put anything on your rash, reddened skin, or sores on your skin unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep the area clean and dry.
  • Discuss effective methods of birth control with your doctor.

Food and drug interactions

There are no known interactions of palifermin with food. This drug may interact with other medication. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medication 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

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

  • Temperature of 100.5 F (38.0 C) or above
  • Chills
  • Trouble breathing

 

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

  • Painful mouth or throat, or if you are unable to eat or drink
  • Sores, rash, reddened areas, or itchiness that is unrelieved by prescribed medication
  • Persistent loss of appetite or if you are losing weight rapidly such as 5 pounds in 1 week

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com