Cetuximab is a medication that can be used to treat several types of cancer, including those of the head and neck, colon, and rectum. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells. Cetuximab is also known by its brand name, Erbitux®.
The medication is usually given as an intravenous injection one or two times a week, and it is administered by a doctor or healthcare professional. While taking this medication, it may be a good idea to watch for any serious side effects and consult a doctor if necessary. People with certain health conditions or who take certain medications may not be able to take cetuximab.
To treat cancers of the head and neck, cetuximab may be used in combination with radiation therapy. It may also be used in the treatment of colorectal cancer that has spread to other areas of the body. While it is usually effective for stopping or slowing the growth of tumors, people who take the medication may not live longer or feel better as a result.
Cetuximab may cause a variety of side effects. Many are considered fairly minor; others can be more serious. They can include skin rash, fatigue and weakness, or nausea. It is recommended that you consult a doctor for more advice about any worrisome side effects, such as coughing up blood, uncontrollable shaking, fainting, or swelling in the lower extremities. Check with a doctor or health professional to find complete information on cetuximab side effects and possible ways to control them.
People with certain health conditions, such as lung disease, may not be able to take cetuximab and should make sure the doctor prescribing the medication is aware of any other health conditions. Women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding may also be advised not to take it. Those considering treatment with this medication should firstbe sure to discuss any existing health conditions with the prescribing physician, so an appropriate and safe treatment plan can be developed.
Some people taking cetuximab may be more sensitive to the sun. Wearing protective clothing, hats, and sunscreen, as well as avoiding prolonged sun exposure can help to minimize these effects. It is also a good idea to have a doctor evaluate all medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements that are being taken before adding this or any other medicines. This can help to avoid any dangerous drug interactions.