"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"...
Avastin Consumer (continued)
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: trouble breathing, swelling of ankles/feet, sudden weight gain, unusual tiredness, fast heartbeat, fainting, signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat), difficulty urinating, calf pain/swelling, muscle cramps, severe stomach/abdominal pain, frothy/dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin, muscle loss, decreased amount of urine.
Symptoms of a severe infusion reaction that may occur during bevacizumab treatment include difficulty breathing, flushing, severe dizziness, nausea/vomiting, shaking, or chest pain. Tell your healthcare professional if you have any of these symptoms during your treatment. Your doctor will monitor you closely and will temporarily stop your treatment if a reaction occurs.
Bevacizumab infrequently may cause blood clots to form, leading to serious medical conditions (heart attack/angina, stroke/TIA). Seek immediate medical attention if you develop chest pain/tightness, sudden vision changes, weakness on one side of the body, confusion, or slurred speech. If any of these conditions occur, you should not be given this medication again.
This medication can cause bleeding. Some episodes may be minor including nosebleeds, minor gum bleeding, and vaginal bleeding. If these persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Other episodes may be more serious including stomach bleeding or bleeding in the lungs (see also Warning section).
This medication may cause high blood pressure. This reaction can be severe enough to require blood pressure treatment. Learn to check your blood pressure regularly and share the results with your doctor.
Rarely, bevacizumab may cause a condition called RPLS (reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome). Get medical help right away if you develop persistent headache, seizures, sudden vision changes, mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion).
This medication may affect the ovaries, possibly reducing fertility and causing hormone changes. Talk to your doctor for more details.
A serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but get medical help right away if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, severe trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Read the Avastin (bevacizumab) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects
PRECAUTIONS: 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 disease.
Before having any surgery (including dental), tell your doctor that you are using this medication. Bevacizumab has been shown to slow wound healing. Do not begin using this medication until at least 28 days after any major surgery, unless directed otherwise by your doctor.
Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without your doctor's consent and avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine.
Use caution with sharp objects like safety razors or nail cutters and avoid activities such as contact sports to lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured.
Caution is advised when using this drug in the elderly because they may be at greater risk for side effects (e.g., blood clots, kidney effects such as protein in the urine). See also Side Effects section.
This medication should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy. Bevacizumab may cause harm to an unborn baby. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Women of child-bearing age should use an effective form of birth control while using this medication and for an extended period after stopping this drug. Discuss the risks, benefits and any other concerns with your doctor.
Based on information from related drugs, this medication may pass into breast milk. Therefore, breast-feeding while using this medication is not recommended. Also, do not breast-feed for extended period after stopping this drug. Consult your doctor or pharmacist before breast-feeding and if more details are needed.
Additional Avastin Information
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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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