Generic Name: Paclitaxel (pack-li-TACKS-ahl) protein-bound particles for injectable suspension
Trade Name: Abraxane™
How is this drug used? Paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension is FDA-approved for the treatment of metastastic breast cancer that has recurred following previous combination chemotherapy therapy or for the treatment of adjuvant breast cancer that has recurred within 6 months of receiving previous combination chemotherapy. Prior therapy for patients treated with paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension should have included a class of chemotherapy agents referred to as anthracyclines, unless the patient is medically ineligible for treatment with anthracyclines. 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? Paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension belongs to a group of drugs referred to as taxanes, which are anti-microtubule agents. Paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension produces its anti-cancer 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 paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension inhibits cellular replication and ultimately causes cellular death. Paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension is unique in that the active form of the drug is bound with albumin, which is a type of protein normally found in the human body. This form of paclitaxel delivers high concentrations of the active ingredient into the cancer cells and reduces the incidence of side effects compared to the original form of the drug.
How is paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension given (administered)? Paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension is administered intravenously (into a vein) and the dose depends on several factors, including the size of the patient, the particular regimen being used, and the overall health of the patient.
Allergic-type reactions, although rare, may occur following treatment with paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension. These reactions are characterized by difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, lightheadedness or dizziness. Patients will be monitored for these reactions.
How are patients monitored? Patients will usually have scheduled meetings with their healthcare provider while they are being treated with paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension. Typically, blood will be drawn to check levels of blood cells and to monitor functions of some organ systems, such as the kidneys or liver. Patients may also undergo physical examinations, scans or other measures to assess side effects and response to therapy. A neurologic exam that includes reflex testing will be performed, as paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension may cause numbness to the feet, hands or extremities. Patients may also have their heart function monitored, as paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension has caused abnormalities to the heart, although this is uncommon.
What are the common (occur in 30% or more of patients) side effects of treatment with paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension?
What are the less common (occur in 10% to 29% of patients) side effects of treatment with paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension?
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?
Eat small, frequent meals in an attempt to relieve nausea.
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.
Copyright © 2010 CancerConnect Last updated 07/10.
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