Posted on December 2nd, 2008 by
Generic Name: Ixabepilone (icks-uh-BEP-uh-lone)
Trade Name: Ixempra®
How is this drug used? Ixabepilone is FDA approved for the treatment of advanced breast cancer, in combination with the chemotherapy agent Xeloda® (capecitabine), among patients whose cancer has stopped responding to chemotherapy in the anthracycline or taxane classes. Ixabepilone is also FDA approved as a single agent for the treatment of advanced breast cancer among patients whose cancer has stopped responding to anthracyclines, taxanes, and Xeloda. It is important for patients to remember that physicians have the ability to prescribe medication for conditions other than those for which the drug has been approved by the FDA. Patients who have received a prescription of this drug for a condition other than which it is approved may wish to discuss this issue with their physician.
What is the mechanism of action? Ixabepilone belongs to a group of drugs referred to as microtubule inhibitors. Ixabepilone produces its anticancer effects by causing abnormalities in microtubule formation in cells. Microtubules are components of cells that provide structural framework that enables cells to divide and grow. The abnormal microtubule formation caused by ixabepilonel inhibits cellular replication and ultimately causes cellular death.
How is ixabepilone given (administered)? Ixabepilone is administered into a vein (intravenous). Allergic-type reactions may occur, although rarely, with treatment with ixabepilone. Therefore, all patients receive premedication against these reactions.
How are patients monitored? Patients will usually have scheduled meetings with their healthcare provider while they are being treated with ixabepilone. Typically, blood will be drawn to check levels of blood cells, particularly white blood cells, and to monitor functions of some organ systems, such as the liver or kidneys. Patients may also undergo physical examinations, scans, or other measures to assess side effects and response to therapy. Patients may also have their reflexes monitored, as ixabepilone may cause numbness to the feet and hands. In addition, patients may also have their heart function monitored, as ixabepilonel has caused abnormalities to the heart, although this is extremely rare.
What are the common (occur in 30% or more of patients) side effects of treatment with ixabepilone?
What are the less common (occur in 10% to 29% of patients) side effects of treatment with ixabepilone?
This is not a complete list of side effects. Some patients may experience other side effects that are not listed here. Patients may wish to discuss with their physician the other less common side effects of this drug, some of which may be serious.
Some side effects may require medical attention. Other side effects do not require medical attention and may go away during treatment. Patients should check with their physician about any side effects that continue or are bothersome.
What can patients do to help alleviate or prevent discomfort and side effects?
Are there any special precautions patients should be aware of before starting treatment?
When should patients notify their physician?
What is a package insert?
A package insert is required by the FDA and contains a summary of the essential scientific information needed for the safe and effective use of the drug for healthcare providers and consumers. A package insert typically includes information regarding specific indications, administration schedules, dosing, side effects, contraindications, results from some clinical trials, chemical structure, pharmacokinetics, and metabolism of the specific drug. By carefully reviewing the package insert, you will get the most complete and current information about how to safely use this drug. If you do not have the package insert for the drug you are using, your pharmacist or physician may be able to provide you with a copy.
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