Arzerra is prescribed to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia in people age 18 and older. This chemotherapy medicine works by binding to a specific antigen on leukemia cells in the body, which signals the immune system to attack and destroy the cancer cells. An off-label use of Arzerra is the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
What Is Arzerra Used For?Arzerra® (ofatumumab) is a prescription injectable medication approved for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in people who did not adequately respond to treatment with alemtuzumab (Campath®) and fludarabine (Fludara®). It is also approved for use in combination with chlorambucil for previously untreated people who are not considered good candidates for fludarabine-based treatment. It belongs to a group of medicines known as monoclonal antibodies.
Leukemia is a type of cancer of the blood cells. It occurs when the bone marrow (the soft, middle part of the bone that makes blood cells) produces a large amount of abnormal blood cells, called leukemia cells. These leukemia cells live longer, and eventually crowd out normal, healthy white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets, which can cause infections and other problems.
There are four main types of leukemia, which are generally classified by how quickly the disease develops and worsens (chronic versus acute) and by which blood cells are affected (lymphoid versus myeloid) (see Types of Leukemia). Simply put, acute leukemia is fast-growing and worsens quickly, while chronic leukemia is slow-growing and worsens over years. Lymphoid leukemia starts in lymphocytes, while myeloid leukemia starts in blood cells.
CLL is a slow-growing leukemia affecting lymphocytes, a type of blood cell. This type of leukemia is more likely to develop in people who are 55 years old and older. It rarely occurs in children.
The symptoms of CLL can vary from person to person. However, common symptoms may include:
- Frequent infections
- Weakness or tiredness
- Night sweats
- Pain in the bones or joints
- Weight loss
- Swollen lymph nodes.
(Click Leukemia Symptoms for more information.)