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Avelumab (Bavencio™)

UPMC Content 2

About This Drug

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

Possible Side Effects

  • Tiredness
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea)
  • Decreased appetite (decreased hunger)
  • Nausea and throwing up (vomiting)
  • Rash
  • Swelling of your legs, ankles and/or feet
  • 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. You will be given medicines to help stop or lessen these symptoms. These reactions may happen for 24 hours after your infusion. If this happens, call 911 for emergency care.

Note: Each of the side effects above was reported in 20% or greater of patients treated with avelumab. Not all possible side effects are included above.

Warnings and Precautions

  • Inflammation (swelling) of the lungs. You may have a dry cough or trouble breathing.
  • Colitis which is swelling in the colon. The symptoms are loose bowel movements (diarrhea) stomach cramping, and sometimes blood in the bowel movements.
  • Changes in your liver function. Your doctor will check your liver function as needed.
  • This drug may affect how your kidneys work. Your kidney function will be checked as needed.
  • This drug may affect some of your hormone glands (especially the thyroid, adrenals, pituitary and pancreas). Your doctor may check your hormone levels as needed.

Treating Side Effects

  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medicines that are available to help stop or lessen diarrhea and/or nausea.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (a minimum of eight glasses per day is recommended).
  • 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).
  • If you get diarrhea, eat low-fiber foods that are high in protein and calories and avoid foods that can irritate your digestive tracts or lead to cramping.
  • To help with nausea and vomiting, eat small, frequent meals instead of three large meals a day. Choose foods and drinks that are at room temperature. Ask your nurse or doctor about other helpful tips and medicine that is available to help or stop lessen these symptoms.
  • To help with decreased appetite, eat small, frequent meals. Eat high caloric food such as pudding, ice cream, yogurt and milkshakes.
  • If you get a rash do not put anything on it unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep the area around the rash clean and dry. Ask your doctor for medicine if your rash bothers you.
  • Manage tiredness by pacing your activities for the day. Be sure to include periods of rest between energy-draining activities.
  • If you experience signs and symptoms of a reaction to the drug such as; fever, chills, shaking chills, facial swelling, trouble breathing, rash, itching, chest tightness or chest pain, Call 911 for emergency care.

Food and Drug Interactions

There are no known interactions of Avelumab 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 if you have any of these symptoms and/or any new or unusual symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or higher
  • Chills, flushing
  • Wheezing, chest pain or trouble breathing
  • Facial swelling
  • Rash, itching or skin blistering
  • Pain when passing urine
  • Decreased urine
  • Unusual thirst or passing urine often
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Confusion
  • Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking or that is not relieved by prescribed medicine
  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) 4 times a day or loose bowel movements with lack of strength or a feeling of being dizzy
  • Lasting loss of appetite or rapid weight loss of five pounds in a week
  • Fatigue that interferes with your daily activities
  • No bowel movement for 3 days or you feel uncomfortable
  • Extreme weakness that interferes with normal activities
  • Severe pain in your abdomen
  • Rash that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • 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
  • Signs of a reaction to the drug such as; fever, chills, shaking chills, facial swelling, trouble breathing, rash, itching, chest tightness or chest pain, Call 911 for emergency care
  • Rash that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • If you think you may be pregnant

Reproduction Warnings

  • Pregnancy warning: This drug can have harmful effects on the unborn baby. It is recommended that effective methods of birth control should be used by women during treatment and for at least 1 month after treatment.
  • Breast feeding warning: Women should not breast feed during treatment and for 1 month after treatment because this drug could enter the breast milk and cause harm to a breast feeding baby.

New: June 2017