Obinutuzumab (Intravenous)

Overview

Obinutuzumab is given as an injection to patients suffering from follicular lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, both of which are cancers of the blood. It is known as an antineoplastic agent and you will be prescribed Obinutuzumab alongside other medicines. Obinutuzumab works by interfering with the growth of the cancerous cells. Eventually, these cells can then be destroyed by your body. You can only obtain Obinutuzumab following a doctor's prescription, as it is only suitable for certain patients. It will then be administered by a doctor in a medical setting.

Condition(s) treated

  • Follicular lymphoma
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Type of medicine

  • Solution for injection

Side Effects

As well as having the intended effect of breaking down cancerous cells, it is possible that Obinutuzumab will have other side effects. These side effects can range in their severity and their need for immediate medical attention. If you experience any of the side effects listed directly below, you should inform a nurse or doctor immediately.

More common

  • Hoarseness or a cough

Less common

  • Lower back, stomach, or side pain

Incidence not known

  • Convulsions

As well as these more serious side effects, it is possible you will experience less severe ones which don't require such immediate attention. Below is a list of these is serious effects. You may find that they simply pass over time as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, if you experience any of the following side effects and find that they are lingering or bothersome, you may still contact a doctor. They could be able to advise on ways to help reduce the symptoms.

Incidence not known

  • Ulceration, discoloration of the skin, feeling of pressure, warmth, bleeding, blistering, pain, rash, numbness, stinging, redness, burning, scarring, soreness, coldness, tenderness, hives, tingling, infection, inflammation, itching, lumps, or swelling at the injection site.

Beyond these lists, it is possible you may experience other side effects as a result of taking Obinutuzumab. If this is the case, then you can still inform your nurse or doctor and they may be able to make them more manageable.

Dosage

You will not be required to worry about dosages of this medicine. Instead, it is given to you by a trained nurse or doctor in a cancer treatment center or hospital. They will calculate the exact dosage needed and administer accordingly. It is given via a needle that is placed into one of your veins. Alongside the Obinutuzumab, you may also receive other medicines to take which will help to prevent you experiencing unwanted side effects.

Interactions

It is possible that Obinutuzumab will interact with another drug you are currently taking. For this reason, you should advise your doctor of any and all drugs you are currently taking. In some cases, an interaction must be avoided at all costs, and so one or both of the medicines may be changed. Alternatively, if it is still necessary that you take both, then the prescribing doctor may alter how much you receive from one or both medicines. Directly below are some of the drugs which are known to interact more severely with Obinutuzumab.

  • Infliximab

Here are some of the drugs which are known to interact moderately with Obinutuzumab.

  • Tuberculin purified protein derivative

As well as interacting with drugs, it is possible that Obinutuzumab will interact with certain aspects of your dietary intake. Your doctor may ask you to inform them of your typical dietary intake and then will advise you of any changes you should make. This involves what you eat, smoke, and drink.

Finally, other medical problems you suffer from could also interact with this medicine. Below Is a list of medical problems which are known to interact particularly badly with Obinutuzumab.

  • A history of hepatitis B infection

Warnings

Before being able to prescribe you this medicine, your doctor will need to decide whether or not it is indeed suitable for you. They will need to examine you to decide this, and a part of this examination will mean looking at any allergies you have. Be those to animals, preservatives, dyes, and foods.

As of writing, no safety and efficacy have been established for the use of Obinutuzumab on pediatric patients. That is because a lack of appropriate studies have been conducted.

The studies performed on older patients have no highlighted any geriatric-specific problems that would make this drug less useful.

However, there are no suitable studies that have been performed on breastfeeding women using this medicine. Your doctor is best placed to advise you of any increased risks and then weigh these against the benefits Obinutuzumab will provide.

Your doctor will need to schedule you in for regular appointments, It is important that you attend these so they can look for any unwanted effects and make necessary adjustments to your prescription. You may need to have blood tests performed at these appointments.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, inform your doctor immediately. They are signs of liver problems.

  • Severe tiredness

Check with your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms. They could be signs of a rare and serious brain infection called multifocal leukoencephalopathy.

  • Loss of coordination

Taking this medicine may cause an infusion reaction to occur within a few hours of having received it. If you have any of the following side effects, inform your doctor immediately.

  • Trouble breathing

Taking Obinutuzumab can potentially cause a serious reaction known as tumor lysis syndrome. To prevent this, your doctor may well give you medicine. However, if you experience any of the following symptoms, inform your doctor right away.

  • Joint pain, swelling, or stiffness

Obinutuzumab does have the potential to temporarily lower the number of white blood cells that are present in your blood. This, in turn, increases your chance of getting an infection. It can also mean that your blood can't clot properly as it reduces the number of platelets. To help reduce your risk of bleeding or infection, there are certain precautions you can take. This includes the following:

  • If you notice any unusual bleeding, bruising, tarry, black stools, red, pinpoint spots on your skin, or blood in your stools or urine, contact your doctor.

Whilst using Obinutuzumab, and afterwards, do not get any live vaccines without first speaking to your doctor. Obinutuzumab can potentially lower your body's resistance, meaning you could get the infection it's trying to prevent, or that it may not work well at all.

Similarly, you should not be around others in your household who have just received a live vaccine. They could potentially pass this onto you. Such example of these vaccines includes rotavirus, rubella, measles, mumps, poliovirus (oral form), and influenza (nasal flu vaccine). Do not get close to these people or remain in the same room for long periods. If you have further questions about this, address them to your doctor.

Storage

You will not be required to store Obinutuzumab.

Summary

If you suffer from follicular lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, then Obinutuzumab could potentially be very useful drug in helping to kill the cancerous cells and treat these conditions. However, it is only suitable for certain patients, as it can have a number of unwanted side effects and interactions. You should, therefore, be open and honest with your doctor whilst they are examining you and trying to determine the best course of treatment for you.

Above, you can find details regarding the possible side effects this drug may cause. You should familiarise yourself with these, and notify your doctor if any serious ones arise. Your doctor will require you to attend appointments following any Obinutuzumab injections. It is important that you attend these as it is in the best interesting of treating your condition. If you have any other questions about this drug or other aspects of your treatment you should address these to your doctor.