Palifermin

Palifermin prevents and treats severe sores in the mouth and throat due to chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Report rashes, itching, or other mouth and tongue changes to your healthcare provider.

Palifermin Overview

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Palifermin is a prescription medication used to prevent and treat severe sores in the mouth and throat that may be caused by chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Palifermin belongs to a group of drugs called human keratinocyte growth factors. These work by stimulating the growth of cells in the mouth and throat. 

This medication is available in an injectable form to be given directly into a vein (IV) by a healthcare professional. 

Common side effects of palifermin include rash, redness, and swelling. 

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Palifermin Cautionary Labels

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Uses of Palifermin

Palifermin is a prescription medication used to prevent and treat severe sores in the mouth and throat that may be caused by chemotherapy and radiation therapy used to treat blood or bone marrow (soft fatty material in the middle of bones that makes blood cells) cancers. 

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

Palifermin Brand Names

Palifermin may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Palifermin Drug Class

Palifermin is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Palifermin

Serious side effects have been reported with palifermin. See the "Drug Precautions" section.

Common side effects of palifermin include the following:

  • rash
  • redness
  • swelling
  • itching
  • tongue discoloration
  • tongue thickening
  • alteration of taste
  • burning, tingling, and "pins and needles" sensations
  • pain
  • joint pain

This is not a complete list of palifermin 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.

Palifermin 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:

  • heparin. If heparin is used to maintain your IV line, your IV line must be rinsed with saline prior to and after palifermin administration.
  • chemotherapy. Palifermin should not be administered during the 24 hours before receiving chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.

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

Palifermin Precautions

Serious side effects have been reported with palifermin including the following:

Potential for Stimulation of Tumor Growth. The safety and effectiveness of palifermin has not been proven in patients with cancers other than bone marrow cancers. In studies in cell cultures and animal models, tumor growth was seen in cancers other than bone marrow cancer with palifermin.

Tell your doctor if you experience rashes and reddening of the skin, itchiness, swelling of the tongue, changes in mouth and tongue sensation, or change in taste while taking palifermin.

Do not receive this medication if you are allergic to palifermin or to any of its ingredients.

Palifermin Food Interactions

Medications can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of palifermin, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.

Inform MD

Before taking palifermin, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:

  • are allergic to palifermin or to any of its ingredients
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed

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

Palifermin 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

Palifermin falls into category C. Based on animal data, palifermin may cause harm to your unborn baby. 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.

Palifermin and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

It is not known if palifermin crosses into human milk. Because many medications can cross into human milk and because of the possibility for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants with use of this medication, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or stop the use of this medication. Your doctor and you will decide if the benefits outweigh the risk of using palifermin.

 

Palifermin Usage

Palifermin comes in an injectable form to be given directly into a vein (IV) by a healthcare professional. 

Palifermin is administered for 3 consecutive days before and 3 consecutive days after chemotherapy for a total of 6 doses. 

Palifermin should not be administered during the 24 hours before receiving chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.

If you miss an appointment to receive a dose of palifermin, contact your healthcare provider for instructions on receiving your next dose.

Palifermin Dosage

The dose your doctor recommends will be based on your weight.

The recommended dose of Kepivance (palifermin) is 60 mcg per kg body weight per day, given as an intravenous (IV) injection by a healthcare provider for 6 total doses.

The first 3 doses are given in 3 consecutive days before chemotherapy, with the third dose 24 to 48 hours prior to beginning chemotherapy. The last 3 doses are given in 3 consecutive days after chemotherapy is complete.

Palifermin Overdose

If palifermin is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.

Other Requirements

  • Keep all appointments to receive your doses of palifermin.