Care During Chemotherapy and Beyond
Generic Name: Obinutuzumab
Gazyva™ is the trade name for the generic chemotherapy drug obinutuzumab. In some cases, health care professionals may use the generic name obinutuzumab
when referring to the trade name Gazyva™.
Gazyva™ is an anti-cancer ("antineoplastic" or "cytotoxic") chemotherapy drug. Gazyva™ is classified as a "monoclonal antibody" (For more detail, see "How
Gazyva™ Works" section below).
What Gazyva™ Is Used For:
- Gazyva™ is a CD20-directed cytolytic antibody and is indicated in combination with chlorambucil, for the treatment of patients with previously untreated
chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
- In combination with bendamustine for the treatment of patients with follicular lymphoma (FL) who have had prior therapy with a rituximab-containing regimen.
Note: If a drug has been approved for one use, physicians sometimes elect to use this same drug for other problems if they believe it might be helpful.
How Gazyva™ Is Given:
- Gazyva™ is given as an infusion into the vein (intravenous, IV). The time of the infusion may be shortened, depending on whether or not you have received
Gazyva™ in the past, or how well you tolerate Gazyva™.
- Medications (such as steroids, acetaminophen (Tylenol™) and an anti-histamine) are usually given just before the infusion to reduce the occurrence of
- There is no pill form of Gazyva™.
- The amount of Gazyva™ you will receive and the schedule it is given will depend on many factors, including your height and weight, your general health or
other health problems, and the type of cancer or condition being treated. Your doctor will determine your dose and schedule.
Important things to remember about the side effects of Gazyva™:
- Most people do not experience all of the side effects listed.
- Side effects are often predictable in terms of their onset and duration.
- Side effects are almost always reversible and will go away after treatment is complete.
- There are many options to help minimize or prevent side effects.
- There is no relationship between the presence or severity of side effects and the effectiveness of Gazyva™.
The following are common (occurring in greater than 30%) side effects for patients taking Gazyva™:
These are less common side effects (occurring in 10-29%) for patients receiving Gazyva™:
Serious, but uncommon side effects of Gazyva™ include:
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) reactivation. This occurs only in those who were previously infected with the Hepatitis B virus. Blood tests
for Hepatitis B will be drawn prior to initiation of Gazyva™.
- Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML) is a rare disorder that damages the material (myelin) that covers and protects nerves in the brain.
- Patients with cancer who take this drug may be at a greater risk of tumor lysis syndrome (TLS) within 12-24 hours of the first dose. It is caused by massive
tumor cell destruction with the release of large amounts of potassium, phosphate, and nucleic acids into the circulation.
Not all side effects are listed above. Some that are rare (occurring in less than 10% of patients) are not listed here. However, 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 100.4° F (38° C), chills
- Shortness of breath, wheezing, difficulty breathing, closing up of the throat, chest tightness, hoarseness, swelling of facial features, hives, red,
swollen, blistered or peeling skin (possible allergic reaction)
The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not an emergency. Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the
- Very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, wound that will not heal,
or anal itching or pain (possible signs of infection)
- 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)
- Signs of liver problems, such as dark urine, fatigue, not feeling hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light colored stools, or yellow skin or eyes
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Black or tarry stools, or blood in your stools or urine
- Extreme fatigue (unable to carry on self-care activities)
- Mouth sores (painful redness, swelling or ulcers)
- Fast heartbeat
- Bad headache
Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.
- Before starting Gazyva™ 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 receive any kind of immunization or vaccination without your doctor's approval while taking Gazyva™.
- Inform your health care professional if you are pregnant or may be pregnant prior to starting this treatment. Pregnancy category C (use in pregnancy only
when benefit to the mother outweighs risk to the fetus).
- For both men and women: Do not conceive a child (get pregnant) while taking Gazyva™. Barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms, are recommended
during therapy and for 12 months after therapy is completed. Discuss with your doctor when you may safely become pregnant or conceive a child after
- Do not breast feed while taking Gazyva™.
- You will be closely monitored during the infusion, report immediately any pain, burning or swelling at the infusion site, chest pain or palpitations;
difficulty breathing or swallowing; chills. These may be signs of an infusion reaction. If signs of reaction occur, the infusion is stopped. In most cases,
the infusion can be restarted at a slower rate once symptoms subside.
- Drink 2 to 3 quarts of fluid for the first 48 hours after each infusion, unless you were told to restrict your fluid intake.
- This medication infrequently causes nausea. But if you should experience nausea, take anti-nausea medications as prescribed by your doctor, and eat
small, frequent meals. Sucking on lozenges and chewing gum may also help.
- You may experience drowsiness or dizziness; avoid driving or engaging in tasks that require alertness until your response to the drug is known.
- In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be avoided. You should discuss this with your doctor.
- Maintain good nutrition.
- 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:
You will be checked regularly by your health care professional while you are taking Gazyva™ to monitor side effects and check your response to therapy.
Periodic blood work 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. Hepatitis B screening will be completed as well.
How Gazyva™ Works:
Gazyva™ is classified as a monoclonal antibody. Monoclonal antibodies are a type of "targeted" cancer therapy.
Antibodies are an 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 anti-cancer monoclonal antibodies in the laboratory, scientists analyze specific antigens on the surface of cancer cells (the targets). Then, using
animal and human proteins, they create a specific antibody that will attach to the target antigen on the cancer 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. Monoclonal antibody therapy is usually given only
for cancers in which antigens (and the respective antibodies) have been identified already.
Gazyva™ works by targeting the CD20 antigen on normal and malignant (cancerous) B-cells. Then the body's natural immune defenses are recruited to attack
and kill the marked B-cells. Stem cells (young cells in the bone marrow that will develop into the various types of cells) do not have the CD20 antigen.
This allows healthy B-cells to regenerate after treatment.
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 is not a substitute for medical advice.
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