About this Drug:
(Necitumumab) is a medication used to treat cancer. It is given in the vein (IV).
Possible Side Effects (More Common)
- A rash that looks like acne may happen on your face and upper back when taking this medicine. You doctor can give you a medicine to help treat this.
- Sensitivity to light (photosensitivity). Photosensitivity means that you may become more sensitive to the effects of the sun, sun lamps, and tanning beds. Your eyes may water more, mostly in bright light.
- Electrolyte changes, especially low magnesium. Low electrolytes can increase your risk of a heart attack. Your blood will be checked for electrolyte changes during treatment.
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) that may last for a few days
Possible Side Effects (Less Common)
- Soreness of the mouth and throat. You may have red areas, white patches, or sores that hurt.
- Eye irritation. Your may have watery eyes. Your eyes and eye lids may become red and painful.
- Blood clots. A blood clot in your leg may cause your leg to swell, appear red and warm, and/or cause pain. A blood clot in your lungs may cause trouble breathing, pain when breathing, and/or chest pain.
- 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.
- Darkening of 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 24 hours after your infusion. If this happens, call 911 for emergency care.
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 of 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.
- 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.
- Wear dark sunglasses and use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher when you are outdoors even for a short time. Cover up when you are out in the sun. Wear wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts, and pants. Keep your neck, chest, and back covered.
- 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.
Food and Drug Interactions
- There are no known interactions of necitumumab with food. This drug may interact with other medications. 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
- 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
- Pain when passing urine; blood in urine
- Pain in your lower back or side
- 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:
- Change in hearing, ringing in the ears
- 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
- 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 and for at least 3 months after treatment has been stopped. 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 it is recommended that women should not breast feed during treatment and for 3 months following final dose because this drug could enter the breast milk and badly harm a breast feeding baby.
Updated January 2017