Ibritumomab Injection

Name: Ibritumomab Injection

Why is this medication prescribed?

Ibritumomab injection is used with rituximab (Rituxan) to treat certain types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system) that has not improved or that has worsened after treatment with other medications. Ibritumomab injection is in a class of medications called monoclonal antibodies with radioisotopes. It works by attaching to cancer cells and releasing radiation to damage the cancer cells.

How should this medicine be used?

Ibritumomab injection comes as a liquid to be injected into a vein over 10 minutes by a doctor who has been trained to treat patients with radioactive medication. It is given as part of a specific cancer treatment regimen. On the first day of the treatment regimen, a dose of rituximab is given and the first dose of ibritumomab injection is given no more than 4 hours afterward. Imaging scans to see how ibritumomab injection has spread through the body are performed 48 to 72 hours after the dose of ibritumomab injection is given. Additional scans may be performed if needed during the next several days. If the results of the scan(s) show that ibritumomab injection has spread through the body as expected, a second dose of rituximab and a second dose of ibritumomab injection will be given 7 to 9 days after the first doses were given.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before receiving ibritumomab injection,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to ibritumomab, any of the medications mentioned in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in ibritumomab injection. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention the medications listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any medical condition.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while receiving ibritumomab injection, call your doctor immediately. You should use birth control to prevent pregnancy during your treatment and for 12 months after your treatment. Ibritumomab injection may harm the fetus.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you have received ibritumomab injection.
  • do not have any vaccinations without talking to your doctor.
  • you should know that the radioactivity in the second dose of ibritumomab injection may be present in your body fluids for up to a week after you receive the dose. To prevent the radioactivity from spreading to people who are in close contact with you, you should be sure to wash your hands throughly after using the bathroom, use a condom every time you have sexual intercourse, and avoid deep kissing. Follow these precautions during your treatment and for 7 days after you receive your second dose of ibritumomab injection.
  • you should know that ibritumomab injection contains albumin (a product that is made from live donor blood). Although there is a extremely small chance that viruses may be spread through the blood, no cases of viral diseases from this product have been reported.
  • you should know that if you receive ibritumomab injection, your body may develop antibodies (substances in the blood that help the immune system recognize and attack foreign substances) to murine proteins. If you develop these antibodies, you may have an allergic reaction when you take medications made from murine proteins, or these medications might not work well for you.After your treatment with ibritumomab injection, be sure to tell all of your doctors that you have been treated with ibritumomab injection.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

Brand names

  • Zevalin®