Common Brand Name(s): Abraxane
Important: How To Use This Information
This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
This medication may often cause a serious blood disorder (decreased bone marrow function leading to a low number of white blood cells). This effect can lower your body's ability to fight an infection. Your doctor will monitor you closely and check your blood often during treatment. If your white blood cell count is too low, you should not receive this medication. Tell your doctor right away if you develop any signs of infection (e.g., fever, chills, cough, persistent sore throat, painful/difficult urination).
This medication contains a form of paclitaxel that is bound to a human protein called albumin. This product acts differently in the body than other forms of paclitaxel. Therefore, this product should not be substituted for or used with any other forms of paclitaxel.
This medication is used to treat certain cancers (including breast, lung, and pancreatic cancer). Paclitaxel belongs to a class of drugs known as chemotherapy drugs. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.
How To Use
Read the Patient Information Leaflet available from your pharmacist before you start using paclitaxel. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
This medication is given by injection into a vein by a health care professional. It is given on a schedule as directed by your doctor. Dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, laboratory tests, and response to treatment.
See also Warning section.
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, mouth sores, headache, muscle/joint pain, numbness/tingling/burning of the hands/feet, weakness, or dizziness may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor promptly.
Temporary hair loss may occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.
People using this medication may have serious side effects. However, your doctor has prescribed this drug because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Careful monitoring by your doctor may decrease your risk.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
- signs of anemia (e.g., unusual tiredness, pale skin)
- easy bruising/bleeding
- fast/slow/irregular heartbeat
- pain/redness/swelling/weakness of the arms/legs
- calf pain/swelling that is warm to the touch
- vision changes
This medication may rarely irritate the vein it is given into or leak out of the vein and irritate the area. These effects may cause redness, pain, swelling, discoloration, or unusual skin reactions at the injection site, either while the drug is given or rarely 7 to 10 days later. If this drug has leaked out of a vein and caused a skin reaction in the past, you may rarely have a skin reaction in that same area when the drug is given again, even when it is given into another area. Tell your doctor right away of any unusual skin/injection site symptoms.
Get medical help right away if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur:
- chest/jaw/left arm pain
- coughing up blood
- weakness on one side of the body
- slurred speech
- sudden severe headache
This medication contains albumin that comes from human blood. There is a very small chance that you may get infections from this medication (including viral infections such as hepatitis), even though careful screening of blood donors, special manufacturing processes, and many tests are all used to reduce this risk. Discuss the benefits and risks of treatment with your doctor. Tell your doctor right away if you develop any of the following:
- signs of infection (e.g., fever, chills, cough, persistent sore throat)
- signs of hepatitis (e.g., persistent nausea/vomiting, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine, increasing tiredness)
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. Do not restart this medication if you have previously stopped using it due to a serious allergic reaction. Get medical help right away if you notice any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction:
- itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat)
- severe dizziness
- 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 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using paclitaxel, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to similar drugs (taxane-type drugs such as docetaxel, cabazitaxel); or to products containing human albumin; 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.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:
- blood disorders (e.g., low white blood cell count)
- decreased bone marrow function
- current infections
- heart problems (e.g., fast/slow/irregular heartbeat)
- high or low blood pressure
- liver disease
This drug may make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor, and avoid contact with people who have recently received polio vaccine by mouth or flu vaccine inhaled through the nose.
Since this medication can increase your risk of developing serious infections, wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infections. Avoid contact with people who have illnesses that may spread to others (e.g., flu, chickenpox).
To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like safety razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not become pregnant while using paclitaxel. Paclitaxel may harm an unborn baby. Females using this medication should ask about reliable forms of birth control while using this medication and for at least 6 months after stopping treatment. Males using this medication should ask about reliable forms of birth control while using this medication and for at least 3 months after stopping treatment. If you or your partner become pregnant, talk to your doctor right away about the risks and benefits of this medication.
It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding is not recommended while using this drug and for 2 weeks after stopping treatment. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include:
- other drugs that may decrease bone marrow function (e.g., azathioprine, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole)
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., complete blood counts) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist right away to establish a new dosing schedule.
Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised October 2019.
Copyright(c) 2019 First Databank, Inc.
Conditions of use: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information in not intend to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects nor should it be construed in indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.