Other Names: Imlygic®
About This Drug
Talimogene laherparepvec is a live, weakened type 1 herpes simplex virus used to treat cancer. It is given into your skin cancer.
Possible Side Effects (More Common)
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) that may last for a few days
- 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 and may last up to 24 hours. Medicines are available to stop or lessen these side effects.
Possible Side Effects (Less Common)
- Redness, swelling, and irritation may occur at the site where you get your shot.
- An infection may develop where you get your shot, including a herpes type infection.
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 the loose bowel movements.
- Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine that is available to help stop or lessen fever, headache, muscle and joint aches.
Avoid touching or scratching the site where you get your shot or coverings to your shot site. This could lead to spreading of the virus to other parts of your body.
Caregivers and patients should wear gloves when changing dressings to avoid spreading the virus to other parts of the body. Caregivers or healthcare providers who have a weakened immune system or are pregnant should not come into direct contact with a patient’s shot site, dressings that covered the shot site, or body fluids of this patient.
Your skin cancer and shot site should stay covered for 7 days. Dirty dressings should be properly disposed.
Food and Drug Interactions
There are no known interactions of talimogene laherparepvec with food.
This drug may interact with other medications such as acyclovir. 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
Call your doctor or nurse immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or higher
- Rash or itching
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) more than 4 times a day or diarrhea with weakness or lightheadedness
- Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking
- Throwing up more than 3 times a day
Call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if any of the following symptoms occur:
- Nausea that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
- Fatigue that interferes with your daily activities
- Painful, red, or swollen areas at the site you got your shot
- No bowel movement for 3 days or you feel uncomfortable
- Extreme weakness that interferes with normal activities
This drug may cause very harmful effects on an unborn child. Talimogene laherparepvec should never be used by women who are pregnant or who could become pregnant while taking the drug. Even 1 dose taken by a pregnant woman can cause these very harmful effects. Your healthcare team will talk to you and give you written information about this risk.
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.
Please detach and keep in your wallet in case of a medical emergency.