What Obinutuzumab is and what it is used for?
- Obinutuzumab is a monoclonal antibody that targets to a protein called CD20 on the surface of white blood cells known as B lymphocytes. When obinutuzumab attaches to the surface of these cells, the abnormal growth of the B lymphocytes is stopped.
- Obinutuzumab is used for the treatment of patients with:
- Untreated chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
- Untreated follicular lymphoma (FL)
- Follicular lymphoma (FL) who have failed rituximab treatment.
How Obinutuzumab is given?
- It is given as a slow infusion into the vein. It may take up to 4 to 6 hours or more.
What should I know while receiving Obinutuzumab?
- Infusion reactions may happen during or shortly after the infusion, causing fever and chills, facial swelling, flushing, breathing difficulties, chest pain and a drop in blood pressure. You may receive medications before obinutuzumab treatment to prevent the reactions. Tell your nurse right away if you feel unwell during an infusion.
- Do not receive this drug when you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Men and women should use effective contraception during treatment and for at least 1 years after the treatment ends.
- You will be checked regularly by your doctor to make sure you have enough blood cells and have adequate organ functions to receive this medicine. The timing and dosing of your treatment may be changed based on the test results or other side effects.
- Do not receive any kind of vaccination without doctor's approval.
- Some of drugs may affect how obinutuzumab works. Tell your doctor about all the medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
- The existing health problems may affect the use of obinutuzumab. Let your doctor know if you have any other medical problems, especially liver, kidney, lung or breathing problems.
- Your blood pressure may be lower than normal while you are receiving this drug. Tell your doctor if you have problems with blood pressure before starting obinutuzumab treatment. Let your nurse know if you feel dizzy or light-headed during the infusion.
- Obinutuzumab may make hepatitis B become active again. Your doctor will check you for Hepatitis B virus infection before starting Obinutuzumab treatment. If you have active hepatitis B, you will not receive this drug. If you have ever had hepatitis B, you will have regular liver function tests while using this medicine and for several months after you stop treatment.
Common side effects
- Low white blood cell count
You may have a higher risk of getting infections. Try to stay away from crowds and wash hands often. Tell your doctor right away if you have repeated fevers, coughing, stuffy nose, a painful urination or wound that becomes red and swollen.
Try to pace yourself and rest as much as possible. Seek medical advice if fatigue does not go away when you rest and sleep.
Tell your doctor if this happens. Be sure to ask your doctor before taking any pain relievers.
- Difficulty sleeping
Talk to your doctor if this bothers you. Treatments usually include lifestyle changes, medications, or a combination of both.
- Changes in liver function
This is usually mild and may return to normal after treatment has ended. Seek medical help right away if you have yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark or brown urine, or pain in abdomen, as these can be signs of liver toxicity.
Less common side effects
- Diarrhea or constipation
Talk to your doctor and ask for advice. Drinking plenty of water and dietary changes can improve the conditions.
- Low red blood cell count
You may look pale and get tired more easily. Let your doctor know if you experience any difficulty breathing or dizziness when changing positions.
- Low platelet count
You may have a higher risk of bleeding. Let your doctor know if you find red or purple dots on the skin, bleeding from the nose or gums, or any bruising or bleeding that you cannot explain.
- Muscle or joint pain
Talk to the doctor if the pain is bothering you, they can give you medicine to relieve pain.
- Cough or breathing problem
You may have sore throat or stuffy nose without any signs of infection. Talk to your doctor if this side effect bothers you.
- Changes in kidney function
This drug may affect how your kidney works. Seek medical help at once if you have unable to pass urine, decreased urination, swelling in limbs, a big weight gain, or pain in lower back.
- Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water every day can help make your recovery a smoother process.
- Alcohol and cigarettes may interfere with certain medicines or worsen side effects from chemotherapy treatment. It is wise to avoid alcohol and cigarette smoking during cancer treatment. If you have any problem about drinking alcohol and smoking, you should check with your doctor.