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    Zevalin

    Zevalin is used to treat patients with certain types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer. Zevalin can cause reactions that may be fatal when it is administered. These reactions usually occur in first-time Zevalin users, and they develop within 30 minutes to 2 hours.

    What are some important things I should know about Zevalin?

    Zevalin was approved in 2002 as the first radioimmunotherapy drug to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Other treatments for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma include carefully monitoring the illness without chemical treatment (usually done with certain types of indolent non-Hodgkin’s which are not treatable), radiation therapy, chemotherapy, bone marrow or stem cell transplant, immunotherapy, and radioimmunotherapy (as with Zevalin).

    Who is Zevalin for?

    Zevalin is prescribed to patients with relapsed or refractory low-grade, follicular, or transformed B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

    Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are cancers of the immune system. They can occur in people who are infants all the way through adulthood. Signs of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma include enlarged lymph nodes, fever and weight loss. In 2007, there were an estimated 63,000 new cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and more than 18,000 deaths.

    What side effects can Zevalin cause?

    Zevalin can cause fatal infusion reactions that were related to low blood oxygen levels, fluid in the lungs, difficulty breathing, arrhythmia, heart attack and organ dysfunction. These reactions usually occur in first-time Zevalin users, and they develop within 30 minutes to 2 hours. Zevalin can also cause very low blood cell counts for long amounts of time, as well as a severe reaction that causes skin blistering and mucous membrane blistering.

    When should I contact my doctor?

    Patients receiving Zevalin can experience severe infusion or injection site reactions that can be fatal. These reactions usually occur in first-time Zevalin users, and they develop within 30 minutes to 2 hours. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience:

    • heart beat changes
    • coughing
    • difficulty breathing
    • chest pain
    • loss of coordination
    • anxiety or panic attack
    • dizziness
    • shock
    • loss of consciousness
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