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Care During Chemotherapy and Beyond

Emapalumab-lzsg

(EH-muh-PAL-yoo-mab)

Trade Name(s): Gamifant®

Emapalumab-lzsg is the generic name for the trade name drug Gamifant®. In some cases, health care professionals may use the trade name Gamifant® when referring to the generic drug name emapalumab-lzsg.

Drug Type: Emapalumab-lzsg is an interferon gamma (IFNγ) blocking antibody. This medication is classified as an monoclonal antibody (for more detail, see "How Emapalumab-lzsg Works" section below).

What Emapalumab-lzsg Is Used For

  • Emapalumab-lzsg is approved for the treatment of patients with primary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) who have refractory, recurrent or progressive disease or intolerance with conventional HLH therapy.

Note: If a drug has been approved for one use, physicians may elect to use this same drug for other problems if they believe it may be helpful.

How Emapalumab-lzsg Is Given

  • Emapalumab-lzsg is given through a vein (intravenously, IV). Emapalumab-lzsg is typically given twice per week (every 3-4 days).
  • There is no pill form of emapalumab-lzsg.
  • You may be given several anti-infective medications by mouth to prevent infection.
  • You may be given IV steroids prior to and while receiving emapalumab-lzsg.

The amount of emapalumab-lzsg that you will receive depends on many factors, including your height and weight, your general health or other health problems, and the condition you have. Your doctor will determine your exact dosage and schedule.

Side Effects

Important things to remember about the side effects of emapalumab-lzsg:

  • Most people will not experience all of the emapalumab-lzsg side effects listed.
  • Side effects are often predictable in terms of their onset, duration, and severity.
  • Side effects will improve after therapy is complete.
  • Side effects may be quite manageable. There are many options to minimize or prevent the side effects of emapalumab-lzsg.

The following side effects are common (occurring in greater than 30%) for patients taking emapalumab-lzsg:

  • Infections
  • High blood pressure

These are less common side effects (occurring in 10-29%) for patients receiving emapalumab-lzsg:

Not all side effects are listed above. Side effects that are very rare -- occurring in less than about 10 percent of patients -- are not listed here. But you should always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.

When to Contact Your Doctor or Health Care Provider

Contact your health care provider immediately, day or night, if you should experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.4º F (38º C) or higher, chills (possible signs of infection)

The following symptoms require medical attention, but they are not an emergency. Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the following:

  • Nausea (interferes with ability to eat and unrelieved with prescribed medication)
  • Vomiting (vomiting more than 4-5 times in a 24-hour period)
  • Diarrhea (4-6 episodes in a 24-hour period)
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Black or tarry stools, or blood in your stools
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain or burning with urination
  • Extreme fatigue (unable to carry on self-care activities)
  • Mouth sores (painful redness, swelling or ulcers)

Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.

Precautions

  • Before starting emapalumab-lzsg treatment, make sure you tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking (including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, herbal remedies, etc.). Do not take aspirin, products containing aspirin unless your doctor specifically permits this.
  • Emapalumab-lzsg may interact with a variety of medications by causing them to break down more quickly in the liver. This could make medications you are taking less effective. Talk with your doctor to see if this will impact any of your medications.
  • Do not receive any kind of immunization or vaccination without your doctor's approval while taking emapalumab-lzsg.
  • Inform your health care professional if you are pregnant or may be pregnant prior to starting this treatment. There is very little information on the use of emapalumab-lzsg during pregnancy.
  • For both men and women: Use contraceptives, and do not conceive a child (get pregnant) while taking emapalumab-lzsg. Barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms, are recommended.
  • Do not breast feed while taking emapalumab-lzsg.

Self-Care Tips

  • Drink at least two to three quarts of fluid every 24 hours, unless you are instructed otherwise.
  • You may be at risk of infection so try to avoid crowds or people with colds, and report fever or any other signs of infection immediately to your health care provider.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • To reduce nausea, take anti-nausea medications as prescribed by your doctor, and eat small, frequent meals.
  • Follow regimen of anti-diarrhea medication as prescribed by your health care professional.
  • Eat foods that may help reduce diarrhea (see managing side effects - diarrhea).
  • In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be kept to a minimum or avoided completely. You should discuss this with your doctor.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Maintain good nutrition.
  • Remain active as you are able. Gentle exercise is encouraged such as a daily walk.
  • If you experience symptoms or side effects, be sure to discuss them with your health care team. They can prescribe medications and/or offer other suggestions that are effective in managing such problems.

Monitoring and Testing While Taking Emapalumab-lzsg

You will be checked regularly by your doctor while you are taking emapalumab-lzsg to monitor side effects and check your response to therapy. Periodic blood work will be obtained to monitor your complete blood count (CBC) as well as the function of other organs (such as your kidneys and liver) will also be ordered by your doctor. You may also be tested as needed for the presence of certain infections while on emapalumab-lzsg.

How Emapalumab-lzsg Works

Monoclonal antibodies are a relatively new type of "targeted" therapy.

Antibodies are in integral part of the body's immune system. Normally, the body creates antibodies in response to an antigen (such as a protein in a germ) that has entered the body. The antibodies attach to the antigen in order to mark it for destruction by the immune system.

To make "targeted" monoclonal antibodies in the laboratory, scientists analyze specific antigens on the surface of problematic cells (the targets). Then, using animal and human proteins, they create a specific antibody that will attach to the target antigen on the problematic cells. When given to the patient, these monoclonal antibodies will attach to matching antigens like a key fits a lock.

Since monoclonal antibodies target only specific cells, they may cause less toxicity to healthy cells.

Emapalumab-lzsg is a monoclonal antibody that binds to an neutralizes interferon gamma (IFNγ). IFNγ may play an important role in the pathogenesis of HLH by being released in higher amounts than normal.

Note: We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but it is not a substitute for medical advice.

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