"July 1, 2011 -- Medicare will keep paying for the drug Avastin to fight breast cancer even though an FDA panel has recommended that the medication no longer be sold as a treatment for breast cancer.
Medicare, in a separate issue, says"...
(bevacizumab) Solution for Intravenous Infusion
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GASTROINTESTINAL PERFORATIONS, SURGERY AND WOUND HEALING COMPLICATIONS, and HEMORRHAGE
The incidence of gastrointestinal perforation, some fatal, in Avastin-treated patients ranges from 0.3 to 2.4%. Discontinue Avastin in patients with gastrointestinal perforation. [See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
Surgery and Wound Healing Complications
The incidence of wound healing and surgical complications, including serious and fatal complications, is increased in Avastin-treated patients. Discontinue Avastin in patients with wound dehiscence. The appropriate interval between termination of Avastin and subsequent elective surgery required to reduce the risks of impaired wound healing/wound dehiscence has not been determined. Discontinue at least 28 days prior to elective surgery. Do not initiate Avastin for at least 28 days after surgery and until the surgical wound is fully healed. [See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, ADVERSE REACTIONS]
Severe or fatal hemorrhage, including hemoptysis, gastrointestinal bleeding, central nervous systems (CNS) hemorrhage, epistaxis, and vaginal bleeding occurred up to five-fold more frequently in patients receiving Avastin. Do not administer Avastin to patients with serious hemorrhage or recent hemoptysis. [See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, ADVERSE REACTIONS]
Avastin (bevacizumab) is a recombinant humanized monoclonal IgG1 antibody that binds to and inhibits the biologic activity of human vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in in vitro and in vivo assay systems. Bevacizumab contains human framework regions and the complementarity-determining regions of a murine antibody that binds to VEGF. Avastin has an approximate molecular weight of 149 kD. Bevacizumab is produced in a mammalian cell (Chinese Hamster Ovary) expression system in a nutrient medium containing the antibiotic gentamicin. Gentamicin is not detectable in the final product.
Avastin is a clear to slightly opalescent, colorless to pale brown, sterile, pH 6.2 solution for intravenous infusion. Avastin is supplied in 100 mg and 400 mg preservative-free, single-use vials to deliver 4 mL or 16 mL of Avastin (25 mg/mL). The 100 mg product is formulated in 240 mg a,a-trehalose dihydrate, 23.2 mg sodium phosphate (monobasic, monohydrate), 4.8 mg sodium phosphate (dibasic, anhydrous), 1.6 mg polysorbate 20, and Water for Injection, USP. The 400 mg product is formulated in 960 mg a,a-trehalose dihydrate, 92.8 mg sodium phosphate (monobasic, monohydrate), 19.2 mg sodium phosphate (dibasic, anhydrous), 6.4 mg polysorbate 20, and Water for Injection, USP.
What are the possible side effects of bevacizumab (Avastin)?
Bevacizumab can cause a rare but serious neurologic disorder affecting the brain. Symptoms include headache, confusion, vision problems, feeling very weak or tired, fainting, and seizure (blackout or convulsions). These rare symptoms may occur within hours of your first dose of bevacizumab, or they may not appear for up to a year after your treatment started. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these side effects.
Some people receiving a bevacizumab injection have had a reaction to the infusion (when the medicine is injected into the vein). Tell your caregiver right away if you...
What are the precautions when taking bevacizumab (Avastin)?
Before using bevacizumab, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: stomach/intestinal ulcers, recent bloody vomiting or coughing up blood, recent major surgery, a fistula (an abnormal tunnel connecting two body cavities such as the bladder and the vagina).
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: high blood pressure, heart disease or blood clots (arterial vessels), kidney...
Last reviewed on RxList: 12/30/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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