Panitumumab treats certain types of colon and rectal cancers. Panitumumab can cause various types of skin rash or other skin problems.

Panitumumab Overview


Panitumumab is a prescription medication used to treat certain types of colon and rectal cancers that have spread to other parts of the body. Panitumumab belongs to a group of drugs called monoclonal antibodies. It works by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells.

This medication is available as a solution (liquid) given by an infusion (injected into a vein). The infusion is typically given at an infusion center or clinic and is usually given every two weeks.

Common side effects of panitumumab include tiredness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin problems such as rash. It can also cause skin reactions that may be severe, so talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you notice any skin changes such as: pimples, rashes, itching, or redness around the toenails or fingernails.

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Panitumumab Cautionary Labels


Uses of Panitumumab

Panitumumab is a prescription medication used to treat certain types of colon and rectal cancer that have spread to other parts of the body.

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

Panitumumab Brand Names

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

Panitumumab Drug Class

Panitumumab is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Panitumumab

Serious side effects have been reported with panitumumab. See the "Panitumumab Precautions" section.

Common side effects of panitumumab include the following:

  • various types of skin rash or other skin problems
  • redness around the fingernails or toenails
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • mouth sores
  • growth of eyelashes
  • cough
  • feeling tired  
  • difficulty breathing

 This is not a complete list of panitumumab side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have a 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.


Panitumumab Interactions

No drug interactions with panitumumab have been studied by the manufacturer. However, you should tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescriptions medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Not all drug interactions are known or reported and new drug interactions are continually being reported.

Panitumumab Precautions

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

Serious skin and subcutaneous tissue reactions. Those experiencing skin and subcutaneous tissue (the layer below the skin) reactions may experience redness, itching, acne, acneiform dermatitis (severe inflammation of the skin that resembles acne), rash, skin fissures (folds or tears in the skin), dry skin, skin exfoliation (loss of cells from the top layer of the skin), or skin ulcers when receiving panitumumab. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you notice any changes to your skin.

Paronychia. Paronychia is redness or swelling around the edges of fingernails or toenails caused by an infection.

Increased Sensitivity to Sunlight. Exposure to sunlight may cause your skin to become irritated. Limit going out into the sunlight as much as possible during treatment with panitumumab. When you do go outside, use sunscreen or wear a hat and long sleeves to protect yourself from the sun's rays.  

Allergic Reactions. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include difficulty breathing and swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat. Tell your doctor if you are allergic to panitumumab, or any other medications.

Lung Disease. Panitumumab has the potential to cause serious lung disease. Tell your doctor if you have ever had lung disease.

Acute Kidney Failure. Acute (sudden and short-term) kidney failure has occurred in patients receiving panitumumab along with other chemotherapy (medicines that stop or slow the growth of cancer cells). 

Infusion Reactions. Panitumumab may cause fever, chills, difficulty breathing, or low blood pressure during the infusion (when injected into a vein). Tell your doctor, pharmacist or nurse in the clinic if you experience any of these symptoms. Your doctor may provide other medications to prevent infusion reactions.

Ocular Keratitis. Panitumumab may cause serious ocular (eye) problems that may lead to corneal perforation (a hole in the outer layer of the eye). Tell your doctor or pharmacist right away if you notice any changes in your vision such as blurriness.


Panitumumab 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 panitumumab, there are no certain foods you should exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.

Inform MD

Before using panitumumab, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially talk to your doctor if you:

  • Are allergic to panitumumab or any of its components
  • Are allergic to any other medications
  • Have, or have had, lung disease
  • Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant 
  • Are breastfeeding

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

Panitumumab 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 used during pregnancy.

Panitumumab falls into category C. Your physician may consider enrolling you into a pregnancy registry run by the manufacturer of panitumumab if you are pregnant. This is part of a medication safety program.

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

Panitumumab and Lactation

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

It is not known if panitumumab crosses into human milk. Medications similar to panitumumab do cross into human milk. Because many medications can cross into human milk and because of the risk of serious adverse reactions in nursing infants with use of this medication, you should not breastfeed during your treatment with panitumumab or for two months after your treatment has ended.

Panitumumab Usage

Use panitumumab exactly as prescribed. You will more than likely receive treatment of panitumumab in a clinic.

This medication is available in an injectable form to be given as an infusion (injected into a vein over a period of time) by a healthcare professional.

If you miss an appointment to receive a dose of panitumumab, call your doctor right away.


Panitumumab Dosage

Use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

The dose your doctor recommends may be based on the following:

  • The condition being treated
  • Other medical conditions you have
  • Other medications you are taking
  • How you respond to this medication
  • Your weight

The panitumumab dose you receive is based on your weight. It is usually injected once every two weeks as an infusion (injected into a vein) over 60 minutes or 90 minutes. How long you receive infusion is based on the dose you receive and how you respond to this medication.

Panitumumab Overdose

Since panitumumab 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 with your doctor. You may require additional appointments for lab tests prior to receiving a dose of panitumumab.

Your doctor may require a test to determine if this medication will be useful for your specific cancer type.

Panitumumab FDA Warning

Dermatologic toxicities were reported in 90% of patients and were severe in 15% of patients receiving monotherapy.