Avastin® (bevacizumab), 100 mg/4mL and 400 mg/16 mL vials, is a Prescription Medicine used to treat metastatic (spreading) colorectal, kidney, breast, brain, lung, ovarian and cervical cancers.
Do not use Avastin if: you have had an allergic reaction to Avastin, any of its ingredients or other antibodies, or if you have been coughing or spitting up blood.
Tell your doctor if: you are pregnant or breast-feeding, or plan to become pregnant or breast-feed; you have any other health problems, especially the following: inflammation of the bowel or stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, a history of blood clots or stroke, bleeding problems, bleeding in the lungs or coughing or spitting up blood, low white blood cell counts, you have/ had a fistula, or have a history of diabetes; you have had major surgery in the last 28 days or a wound that has not healed properly; you have had a blocked lung artery (pulmonary embolism); you have heart disease; you have received anthracyclines (e.g. doxorubicin) for cancer, or radiotherapy to your chest; you are 65 years of age or older, or you are taking any other medicines.
Side Effects: Avastin may worsen some chemotherapy side effects when used in combination with chemotherapy agents, including hair loss, nail disorders, pain, redness and/or swelling of your hands and/or soles of your feet, and a feeling of numbness or tingling in the hands or feet.
Tell your doctor immediately or go to your nearest Accident and Emergency Centre if you notice any of the following: severe body pain and/or numbness (unable to sense pain or hot/cold temperatures on your body, arms, and/or legs. Any stomach pain or cramps; severe headache; severe diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting; loss of control of your bladder or bowels; passage of wind or bowel motions through the vagina; coughing or spitting up blood; pain, redness, swelling and warmth over a vein which may suggest blood clots; pain and/or swelling in the lower legs, feet or hands; severe bleeding or problems with your wounds healing after surgery; seizures; confusion; sleepiness/drowsiness or fainting; abscesses (pus-filled sores); severe infection with high fever, chills, headache, confusion and rapid breathing; feeling of numbness or tingling in feet or hands; dry mouth with thirst and/or darkened urine; increased heart rate; shortness of breath; symptoms of an allergic reaction which may include shortness of breath, wheezing or difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, lips, tongue or other parts of the body, or rash, itching or hives on the skin.
Possible common side-effects may also include: high blood pressure (symptoms include, headache, dizziness, ringing in the ears, tiredness, blurred vision); body pain, tiredness/ weakness; diarrhoea, constipation or rectal bleeding; sore mouth or mouth ulcers; loss of appetite, being thirsty; shortness of breath; runny, blocked or bleeding nose; dry, scaling or inflamed skin, change in skin colour; taste changes or loss of taste; blurred vision (including increased production of tears, double visions, drooping eyelid(s), shimmering lights in your vision, sensitivity to light or temporary loss of sight; dizziness; trouble with your balance; headache; migraines; frequent infections with symptoms such as fever, chills or sore throat; changes in your voice or difficulty speaking or swallowing; loss of body weight; abdominal, pelvic, rectal or back pain.
Avastin has risks and benefits. Ask your oncologist if Avastin is right for you. Use strictly as directed. If symptoms continue or you have side effects, see your healthcare professional. For further information on Avastin, please talk to your health professional or visit www.medsafe.govt.nz for Avastin Consumer Medicine Information.
Avastin is not funded by PHARMAC. You will need to pay the full cost of this medicine. A prescription charge and normal oncologist fees may apply.
Consumer panel dated 21 January 2021