What is the most important information I should know about atezolizumab?
Atezolizumab affects your immune system and may cause it to attack normal healthy tissues or organs, leading to serious or life-threatening medical problems.
Call your doctor at once if you have new or worsening symptoms such as: chest pain, cough, breathing problems, stomach pain, vomiting, changes in appetite or weight, increased thirst or urination, painful urination, headaches, neck stiffness, vision problems, tiredness, mood changes, muscle weakness, hair loss, feeling cold, bleeding or bruising, diarrhea, bloody or tarry stools, dark urine, or yellowing of the skin or eyes.
What is atezolizumab?
Atezolizumab is used to treat certain cancers of the breast, skin, lung, liver, or bladder and urinary tract.
Atezolizumab is used when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic), or cannot be removed by surgery. Atezolizumab may be used alone or in combination with other cancer drugs.
Your doctor may perform a biopsy to test your cancer for a protein called "PD-L1," or a specific genetic marker (an abnormal "BRAF," "EGFR," or "ALK" gene).
Atezolizumab is sometimes given after other cancer treatments did not work or have stopped working.
Atezolizumab may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving atezolizumab?
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- an infection;
- an immune system disorder such as lupus, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn's disease;
- an organ transplant;
- radiation treatment to your chest area;
- a breathing disorder;
- liver disease; or
- a nervous system disorder such as myasthenia gravis or Guillain Barré syndrome.
Tell your doctor if you plan to receive a stem cell transplant using donor stem cells.
You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before starting this treatment.
Do not use atezolizumab if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine and for at least 5 months after your last dose.
This medicine may affect fertility (ability to have children) in women. However, it is important to use birth control to prevent pregnancy because atezolizumab can harm an unborn baby.
Do not breastfeed while receiving this medicine, and for at least 5 months after your last dose.
How is atezolizumab given?
Atezolizumab is given as an infusion into a vein, usually once every 2 to 4 weeks. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.
This medicine must be given slowly, and the infusion can take up to 60 minutes to complete.
If you receive atezolizumab to treat a type of skin cancer called melanoma, you will also be given two other medications to take by mouth. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.
You may be given other medications to help treat certain serious side effects. Keep using these medicines for as long as your doctor has prescribed.
Atezolizumab helps your immune system fight against tumor cells, but your immune system may attack normal healthy tissues or organs. When this happens, you may develop serious or life-threatening medical problems. You will need frequent medical tests.
Your doctor will determine how long to treat you with atezolizumab.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your atezolizumab injection.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while receiving atezolizumab?
Atezolizumab could make you sunburn more easily. Avoid sunlight or tanning beds. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.
What are the possible side effects of atezolizumab?
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).
Some side effects may occur during the injection. Tell your caregiver right away if you feel dizzy, light-headed, chilled or feverish, itchy, tingly, or have neck or back pain, trouble breathing, or swelling in your face.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- new or worsening cough, shortness of breath;
- chest pain, irregular heartbeats;
- swelling in your ankles;
- severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody or tarry stools;
- liver problems --right-sided upper stomach pain, loss of appetite, drowsiness, easy bruising or bleeding, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
- nervous system problems --neck stiffness, increased sensitivity to light, confusion, severe muscle weakness, numbness or tingling in your hands or feet, vision problems, eye pain or redness;
- low red blood cells (anemia) --pale skin, unusual tiredness, feeling light-headed or short of breath, cold hands and feet;
- signs of infection --fever, flu symptoms, cough, back pain, painful or frequent urination; or
- signs of a hormonal disorder --frequent or unusual headaches, extreme tiredness, dizziness or fainting, mood or behavior changes, hoarse or deepened voice, increased hunger or thirst, increased urination, constipation, hair loss, feeling cold, weight gain, or weight loss.
Your cancer treatments may be delayed or permanently discontinued if you have certain side effects.
Common side effects may include:
- nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite;
- diarrhea, constipation;
- anemia, fever, infections;
- cough, feeling short of breath;
- liver problems;
- mouth sores or swelling;
- high blood pressure, abnormal blood or urine tests;
- headache, tiredness, weakness
- joint, muscle, or bone pain;
- numbness or tingling in your hands or feet;
- swelling in your legs or arms;
- rash, itching, sunburn or being more sensitive to sunlight; or
- hair loss.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect atezolizumab?
Other drugs may affect atezolizumab, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
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