Abraxane

Abraxane treats certain types of cancer. Abraxane can cause hair loss over the entire body as well as swelling of your hands, face, or feet.

Abraxane Overview

Reviewed: August 21, 2012
Updated: 

Abraxane is a prescription medication used to treat cancer, including breast, and lung, pancreatic cancer. Abraxane belongs to a group of drugs called antimicrotubule agents or taxanes. It works by stopping the growth and spread of cancer cells.

This medication comes in an injectable form to be given directly into a vein (IV) by a healthcare provider.

Common side effects of Abraxane include low blood cell count, hair loss, and joint or muscle pain.

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  • Other
  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Lung Neoplasms
  • Ovarian Neoplasms
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi

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Abraxane Cautionary Labels

precautionsprecautions

Uses of Abraxane

Abraxane is a prescription medicine used to treat some forms of cancer including:

  • breast cancer
  • lung cancer
  • pancreatic cancer

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Manufacturer

Abraxane Drug Class

Abraxane is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Abraxane

The most common side effects of Abraxane include:

  • low red blood cell count (anemia) feeling weak or tired
  • hair loss
  • numbness, tingling, or burning in your hands or feet (neuropathy)
  • joint and muscle pain
  • nausea and vomiting
  • hypersensitivity reaction - trouble breathing; sudden swelling of your face, lips, tongue, throat, or trouble swallowing; hives (raised bumps) or rash
  • diarrhea
  • mouth or lip sores (mucositis)
  • infections - if you have a fever (temperature above 100.4°F) or other sign of infection, tell your healthcare provider right away
  • swelling of your hands, face, or feet
  • bleeding events
  • irritation at the injection site
  • low blood pressure (hypotension)

This is not a complete list of this medication’s side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Abraxane Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • midazolam
  • buspirone
  • felodipine
  • lovastatin
  • eletriptan
  • sildenafil
  • simvastatin
  • triazolam
  • atazanavir
  • clarithromycin
  • indinavir
  • itraconazole
  • ketoconazole
  • nefazodone
  • nelfinavir
  • ritonavir
  • saquinavir
  • telithromycin
  • rifampin
  • carbamazepine
  • repaglinide
  • rosiglitazone
  • gemfibrozil

This is not a complete list of Abraxane drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Abraxane Precautions

Abraxane injection may cause a large decrease in the number of white blood cells (a type of blood cell that is needed to fight infection) in your blood. This increases the risk that you will develop a serious infection. You should not receive Abraxane if you already have a low number of white blood cells. Your doctor will order laboratory tests before and during your treatment to check the number of white blood cells in your blood. Your doctor will delay or interrupt your treatment if the number of white blood cells is too low. Call your doctor immediately if you develop a temperature greater than 100.4 °F (38 °C); a sore throat; cough; chills; difficult, frequent, or painful urination; or other signs of infection during your treatment with Abraxane injection.

Abraxane injection is manufactured with additional ingredients to allow the medication to reach parts of the body where it is needed. Abraxane is manufactured with human albumin. The other form of paclitaxel injection (Onxol, Taxol) is manufactured with a solvent called polyoxyethylated castor oil. There are important differences between the two forms of paclitaxel, so these products should not be substituted for each other.

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain tests to check your body's response to Abraxane injection.

Do not receive Abraxane if:

  • you are allergic to any of the ingredients in Abraxane. 
  • you have low white blood cell counts.

Abraxane Food Interactions

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with Abraxane and lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor.

Inform MD

Before receiving Abraxane, tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions, including if you:

  • have liver problems
  • have heart problems
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Abraxane can harm your unborn baby. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if Abraxane passes into your breast milk. You and your healthcare provider should decide if you will receive Abraxane or breastfeed.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Abraxane and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

This medication falls into category D. In animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication and had some babies born with problems. No well-controlled studies have been done in humans. Therefore, this medication may be used if the potential benefits to the mother outweigh the potential risks to the unborn child.

Abraxane and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if Abraxane passes into your breast milk. You and your doctor should decide if you will receive Abraxane or breastfeed.

Abraxane Usage

Abraxane is injected into a vein (intravenous [IV] infusion) by your healthcare provider. It may be given once every 3 weeks. For the treatment of Kaposi's Sarcoma, Abraxane may be given every 2 or 3 weeks.

Your healthcare provider will do certain tests while you receive Abraxane.

Abraxane Dosage

The following Abraxane regimens are recommended:

  • For patients with cancer of the breast, Abraxane (paclitaxel) is typically given every 3 weeks. The actual dose and total length of therapy will be determined by your doctor.
  • For patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma, Abraxane (paclitaxel) is typically given every 3 weeks. The actual dose and total length of therapy will be determined by your doctor.
  • For patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, Abraxane (paclitaxel) is typically given on days 1, 8, and 15 of each 28 day cycle. The actual dose and total length of therapy will be determined by your doctor.

Abraxane Overdose

Abraxane is usually administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting making it unlikely for an overdose to occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.

Other Requirements

  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about Abraxane.

Abraxane FDA Warning

WARNING:

Abraxane should be administered under the supervision of a physician experienced in the use of cancer chemotherapeutic agents. Appropriate management of complications is possible only when adequate diagnostic and treatment facilities are readily available.

Anaphylaxis and severe hypersensitivity reactions characterized by dyspnea and hypotension requiring treatment, angioedema, and generalized urticaria have occurred in 2 to 4% of patients receiving Abraxane in clinical trials. Fatal reactions have occurred in patients despite premedication. All patients should be pretreated with corticosteroids, diphenhydramine, and H2 antagonists. Patients who experience severe hypersensitivity reactions to paclitaxel should not be rechallenged with the drug.

Abraxane therapy should not be given to patients with solid tumors who have baseline neutrophil counts of less than 1500 cells/mm3 and should not be given to patients with AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma if the baseline neutrophil count is less than 1000 cells/mm3. In order to monitor the occurrence of bone marrow suppression, primarily neutropenia, which may be severe and result in infection, it is recommended that frequent peripheral blood cell counts be performed on all patients receiving Abraxane.