Leukemia Home > Arzerra Warnings and Precautions
If you will be undergoing treatment with Arzerra, make sure your healthcare provider knows about your medical history and whether have ever had hepatitis B or a bowel obstruction. This medicine can also cause potentially serious complications in people who have certain lung problems or allergies. Other safety precautions for Arzerra involve warnings of possible drug interactions.
What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to receiving Arzerra® (ofatumumab) if you have:
- Lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- A history of hepatitis B
- A history of a bowel obstruction
- Plans to receive a vaccination
- Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
You should also tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific Precautions and Warnings With ArzerraSome warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to receiving this medication include the following:
- Arzerra can cause serious, life-threatening reactions, known as infusion reactions, which may occur during or shortly after receiving your dose. Infusion reactions are more likely to occur with the first two Arzerra injections, but can happen anytime. Your healthcare provider will give you other medicines before giving you Arzerra, to help reduce the likelihood that you will experience an infusion reaction.
You will also be closely monitored while receiving Arzerra. Your dose will need to be interrupted if you experience an infusion reaction during treatment. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any of the following symptoms during or any time after your infusion:
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting
- Skin rash or hives
- Swelling of the mouth, tongue, face, lips, or throat
- Back pain
- Abdominal (stomach) pain
- Redness of the skin and warmth in the face, neck, and chest area
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Tightness in the chest or throat
- Chest pain.
- Arzerra may cause abnormally low white blood cell and platelet counts, which could increase your risk for infections and bleeding. Your healthcare provider will monitor your blood cell counts regularly during treatment with a simple blood test. Contact your healthcare provided right away if you experience any symptoms of infection, such as:
- High fever
- Body aches
- A sore throat
- Abnormal bleeding or bruising.
- You could develop a serious brain infection known as progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) during Arzerra treatment. PML can cause severe disability and death. Contact your healthcare provider right away if experience any symptoms of PML, including:
- Vision problems
- Loss of balance or difficulty walking
- Difficulty talking or thinking.
- Hepatitis B infections (an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus) have occurred in people using Arzerra. If you have been infected with the hepatitis B virus in the past, Arzerra could cause the infection to come back. Liver failure and death are possible. Your healthcare provider will monitor you for active hepatitis B virus infection during treatment and for 6 to 12 months after your last dose.
Because of the risks of hepatitis B reactivation, all people should be tested using a blood test to check for a current or past hepatitis B infection before starting this medication.
- You may be at risk for intestinal obstruction during Arzerra treatment. Intestinal obstruction is a potentially serious blockage of the small intestine and bowel. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you experience any signs of an intestinal blockage, such as:
- Abdominal (stomach) pain or cramping
- Stomach distention (swelling)
- Nausea and vomiting
- An inability to have a bowel movement.
- Talk to your healthcare provider before getting any type of vaccination or immunization during Arzerra treatment. Vaccines may be less effective in people receiving Arzerra. You could also become infected with the bacteria or viruses used to make "live" vaccines (see Arzerra Drug Interactions).
- Arzerra may interact with a few other medications (see Arzerra Drug Interactions).
- Arzerra is a pregnancy Category C medication, which means it may not be safe for use during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using this medication during pregnancy (see Arzerra and Pregnancy).
- It is unknown whether Arzerra passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to receiving the drug (see Arzerra and Breastfeeding).