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Included as part of the PRECAUTIONS section.


Serious Infusion Reactions

See also prescribing information for rituximab.

Rituximab, alone or as a component of the Zevalin therapeutic regimen, can cause severe, including fatal, infusion reactions. These reactions typically occur during the first rituximab infusion with time to onset of 30 to 120 minutes. Signs and symptoms of severe infusion reactions may include urticaria, hypotension, angioedema, hypoxia, bronchospasm, pulmonary infiltrates, acute respiratory distress syndrome, myocardial infarction, ventricular fibrillation, and cardiogenic shock. Temporarily slow or interrupt the rituximab infusion for less severe infusion reactions. Immediately discontinue rituximab and Y-90 Zevalin administration for severe infusion reactions [see BOXED WARNING and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

Prolonged and Severe Cytopenias

Cytopenias with delayed onset and prolonged duration, some complicated by hemorrhage and severe infection, are the most common severe adverse reactions of the Zevalin therapeutic regimen. When used according to recommended doses, the incidences of severe thrombocytopenia and neutropenia are greater in patients with mild baseline thrombocytopenia (100,000 to 149,000 /mm3) compared to those with normal pretreatment platelet counts. Severe cytopenias persisting more than 12 weeks following administration can occur [see BOXED WARNING and ADVERSE REACTIONS].

Do not administer the Zevalin therapeutic regimen to patients with ≥ 25% lymphoma marrow involvement and/or impaired bone marrow reserve. Monitor patients for cytopenias and their complications (e.g., febrile neutropenia, hemorrhage) for up to 3 months after use of the Zevalin therapeutic regimen. Avoid using drugs which interfere with platelet function or coagulation following the Zevalin therapeutic regimen.

Severe Cutaneous and Mucocutaneous Reactions

Erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, bullous dermatitis, and exfoliative dermatitis, some fatal, were reported in post-marketing experience. The time to onset of these reactions was variable, ranging from a few days to 4 months after administration of the Zevalin therapeutic regimen. Discontinue the Zevalin therapeutic regimen in patients experiencing a severe cutaneous or mucocutaneous reaction [see BOXED WARNING and ADVERSE REACTIONS].

Altered Biodistribution

In a post-marketing registry designed to collect biodistribution images and other information in reported cases of altered biodistribution, there were 12 (1.3%) patients reported to have altered biodistribution among 953 patients registered.

Leukemia and Myelodysplastic Syndrome

Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and/or acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) were reported in 5.2% (11/211) of patients with relapsed or refractory NHL enrolled in clinical studies and 1.5% (8/535) of patients included in the expanded-access trial, with median follow-up of 6.5 and 4.4 years, respectively. Among the 19 reported cases, the median time to the diagnosis of MDS or AML was 1.9 years following treatment with the Zevalin therapeutic regimen; however, the cumulative incidence continues to increase [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].

Among 204 patients receiving Y-90 Zevalin following first-line chemotherapy, two patients (1%) were diagnosed with AML within 3 years of receiving Zevalin.

Embryo-Fetal Toxicity

Based on its radioactivity, Y-90 Zevalin may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. If the Zevalin therapeutic regimen is administered during pregnancy, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to a fetus. Advise women of childbearing potential to use adequate contraception for a minimum of twelve months [see Use in Specific Populations, Nonclinical Toxicology, and PATIENT INFORMATION].


Monitor patients closely for evidence of extravasation during Zevalin infusion. Immediately terminate the infusion if signs or symptoms of extravasation occur and restart in another limb [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].


The safety of immunization with live viral vaccines following the Zevalin therapeutic regimen has not been studied. Do not administer live viral vaccines to patients who have recently received Zevalin. The ability to generate an immune response to any vaccine following the Zevalin therapeutic regimen has not been studied.

Laboratory Monitoring

Monitor complete blood counts (CBC) and platelet counts following the Zevalin therapeutic regimen weekly until levels recover or as clinically indicated.

Radionuclide Precautions

During and after radiolabeling Zevalin with Y-90, minimize radiation exposure to patients and to medical personnel, consistent with institutional good radiation safety practices and patient management procedures.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)

The Zevalin therapeutic regimen contains albumin, a derivative of human blood. Based on effective donor screening and product manufacturing processes, Zevalin carries an extremely remote risk for transmission of viral diseases. A theoretical risk for transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) also is considered extremely remote. No cases of transmission of viral diseases or CJD have ever been identified for albumin.

Nonclinical Toxicology

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

Carcinogenicity and mutogenicity studies have not been conducted. However, radiation is a potential carcinogen and mutagen. No animal studies have been performed to determine the effects of Zevalin on fertility in males or females. In clinical studies, the Zevalin therapeutic regimen results in a significant radiation dose to the testes: the radiation dose to the ovaries has not been established [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. There is a potential risk that the Zevalin therapeutic regimen could cause toxic effects on the male and female gonads. Effective contraceptive methods should be used during treatment and for up to 12 months following the Zevalin therapeutic regimen [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, Use in Specific Populations and PATIENT INFORMATION].

Use In Specific Populations


Teratogenic Effects

Category D [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]: Based on its radioactivity, Y-90 Zevalin may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Immunoglobulins are known to cross the placenta. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Animal reproductive toxicology studies of Zevalin have not been conducted.

Advise women of childbearing potential to use adequate contraception for a minimum of twelve months. Inform women who become pregnant while receiving Zevalin of the potential fetal risks[see Nonclinical Toxicology and PATIENT INFORMATION].

Nursing Mothers

Because human IgG is excreted in human milk, it is expected that Zevalin would be present in human milk. Because of the potential for adverse reactions in nursing infants from Y-90 Zevalin, a decision should be made to discontinue nursing or not administer the Zevalin therapeutic regimen, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.

Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of Zevalin have not been established in pediatric patients.

Geriatric Use

Of 349 patients with relapsed/refractory NHL treated with the Zevalin therapeutic regimen in clinical studies, 38% (132 patients) were age 65 years and over, while 12% (41 patients) were age 75 years and over.

Of 414 patients enrolled in Study 4 (Zevalin following first-line chemotherapy) 206 patients received Zevalin. Of these patients 14% (29 patients) were 65 years and over, while 2% (4 patients) were 75 years and older. In the control arm, 10% (21 patients) were 65 years or over and 0% (0 patients) were 75 years or older.

No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these subjects and younger subjects, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 12/21/2011


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