What is Vectibix&Reg;?

K.C. Bruning

Vectibix® is the product name for panitumumab, a drug that prevents or impedes cancer cell growth. It is most often prescribed to patients with rectum or colon cancer to address cancer that has continued to spread throughout the body when they have undergone or are in the midst of chemotherapy. Vectibix® works by binding to and disabling the protein that starts the chain reaction which causes new cancer cells to grow.

Vectibix is administered via intravenous therapy.
Vectibix is administered via intravenous therapy.

The drug is administered via injection by a professional in a medical facility. Most patients receive injections every two weeks. The injection is given via intravenous therapy, commonly known as IV, in which the drug comes from a bag attached to a tube which attached to a needle that is then injected into a vein. Administration of Vectibix® is slow and can take as long as 90 minutes to finish.

There are several side effects possible during the injection, including fever, light-headedness or dizziness, breathing difficulties, and nausea. For this reason, doctors tend to be especially vigilant when administering the injection and particularly with the first few doses. It is important to report any of these side effects to the individual administering the injection as it may be necessary to stop the treatment.

Patients who take Vectibix® are more sensitive to the sun. While taking the drug, doctors typically advise avoiding sun exposure when possible. If it is necessary to be in the sun, it is important to wear a sunscreen of at least SPF 15 and cover as much skin as possible with clothing in order to avoid sunburn.

There are several side effects of Vectibix® which affect women in particular. The drug should be avoided by pregnant women, as it can cause birth defects. It is also believed to be harmful to nursing babies. Vectibix® can have a detrimental affect on fertility and may cause irregular menstrual cycles as well.

The most common side effects of Vectibix® are skin problems such as redness, itching, acne, dryness, or oozing. It can also affect the eyes, causing irritation and redness around the eyelids. Other possible mild effects from the drug include excessive tiredness, constipation or diarrhea, and nausea.

Serious side effects of Vectibix® include swelling of the eyes, hands, or ankles. Swelling and infection around finger- or toenails are another serious possible result of taking the drug. Breathlessness, fever, and sores or white patches in the mouth are also cause for concern. All of these symptoms should receive immediate medical attention.

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