Xgeva

Xgeva prevents fractures from certain types of cancers. Xgeva also treats tumors of the bone. Before you have any dental work, tell your dentist you receive this drug.

Xgeva Overview

Reviewed: November 20, 2012
Updated: 

Xgeva is a prescription medication used to to prevent fractures from certain types of cancers that have spread to the bone. Xgeva is used to treat giant cell tumor of the bone that cannot be treated with surgery. It is also used to treat high levels of calcium due to cancer that have not been successfully treated with bisphosphonate therapy.

Xgeva belongs to a group of drugs called RANK ligand inhibitors. These work by decreasing the breakdown of bone and increasing bone strength and thickness.

This medication comes in an injectable form that is given as a single shot under the skin in the upper arm, upper thigh, or abdomen, once every 4 weeks in your doctor's office.

Common side effects include tiredness/weakness, low phosphate levels in your blood, and nausea.

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Uses of Xgeva

Xgeva is a prescription medication used to prevent fractures from certain types of cancers that have spread to the bone. Xgeva is used to treat giant cell tumor of the bone that cannot be treated surgically. Xgeva is also used to treat high levels of calcium due to cancer that have not been successfully treated with bisphosphonate therapy.

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

Manufacturer

Xgeva Drug Class

Side Effects of Xgeva

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

Common side effects of Xgeva include the following:

  • red, dry, itchy skin
  • back pain
  • nausea
  • headache
  • pain in arms or legs
  • joint pain
  • muscle pain
  • fatigue
  • increase in cholesterol
  • urinary tract infections

This is not a complete list of Xgeva 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.

Xgeva Interactions

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

Xgeva Precautions

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

  • anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms: swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat, difficulty breathing, dizziness, or itching.
  • hypocalcemia. Hypocalcemia refers to low levels of calcium in the blood. Tell your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms of hypocalcemia: muscle stiffness or spasms, dizziness, or numbness in the fingers. Your doctor may check your calcium level in your blood before you use Xgeva to make sure it is not too low. Your doctor should also instruct you to take calcium and vitamin D supplements during treatment to make sure your calcium does not get too low.
  • osteonecrosis of the jaw. Osteonecrosis is a serious bone disease that can degrade bone and limit its function. It typically occurs after tooth extraction or local infection. You should have a dental exam before you start treatment with Xgeva.
  • fractures of the femur. While Xgeva is intended to prevent fractures, patients using the drug have experienced fractures. Tell your doctor if you notice any new thigh, hip, or groin pain.
  • infection. Tell your doctor if you notice any signs of infection such as a cough, runny nose, sore throat, or fever.
  • skin reactions. Tell your doctor if you develop a rash or develop itching, burning, or redness of the skin.
  • bone, joint, and muscle pain. Stop taking Xgeva and tell your doctor if you experience pain in the joints, or deeper in the muscle or bone.
  • decreased bone remodeling. It is not known if Xgeva use over a long period of time slows the healing of broken bones.

Do not use Xgeva if you:

  • are allergic to Xgeva or any of its ingredients
  • have an infection
  • are pregnant
  • have low calcium levels

Xgeva 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 Xgeva, there are no specific foods you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.

Inform MD

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

  • Are allergic to Xgeva or any of its ingredients
  • Have had recent dental work, or plan to have dental work or a tooth extraction in the future
  • Have been told you have low calcium levels in your blood
  • Have kidney problems
  • Are unable to take calcium or vitamin D supplements
  • Have been told you have trouble absorbing vitamins or minerals in your stomach or intestines
  • Are taking another medicine that contains denosumab. Denosumab is marketed as Xgeva and Prolia, and patients receiving either one of these medications should not receive the other.
  • Have an active infection
  • Have had thyroid or parathyroid (glands located in your neck) surgery
  • Are pregnant or are plan to become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed
  • Tell your dentist that you are receiving Xgeva before you have dental work done

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

Xgeva 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 possible risks of an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

Xgeva falls into category X. It has been shown that women taking Xgeva during pregnancy may have babies born with problems. There are no situations in which the benefits of the medication to the mother outweigh the risks of harm to the baby. These medications should never be used by pregnant women.

Xgeva and Lactation

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

It is not known if Xgeva crosses into human milk. Because many medications can cross into human milk and because the possiblity 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 risks of using Xgeva.

Xgeva Usage

Use Xgeva exactly as prescribed.

Xgeva comes in injectable form to be given under the skin by a healthcare professional once every 4 weeks. 

Xgeva 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

The recommended dose of Xgeva (denosumab) to prevent fractures from certain types of cancers that have spread to the bone is 120 mg injected under the skin in the upper arm, upper thigh, or abdomen every 4 weeks. 

For the treatment Giant Cell Tumor of Bone and high calcium levels due to cancer, the recommended dose of Xgeva (denosumab) is 120 mg injected under the skin in the upper arm, upper thigh, or abdomen every 4 weeks. An additional 120 mg will be injected on days 8 and 15 of the first month of treatment.

Xgeva Overdose

Since Xgeva 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.