Polatuzumab vedotin is used together with other medicines to treat diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (a type of cancer that starts from white blood cells called B lymphocytes) that has come back or did not improve with previous therapies, and when the individual cannot receive a stem cell transplant.
Polatuzumab vedotin injection is to be given intravenously (into the vein) as an infusion. It is delivered directly into the bloodstream via the blood vessel.
Your doctor or nurse will administer the injection for you.
Ensure that you keep all appointments with your doctor so that you do not miss any doses. Your doctor also needs to regularly monitor your response to Polatuzumab vedotin.
If you miss an appointment or miss an injection, alert your doctor or nurse. A replacement appointment or injection should be given as soon as possible.
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- active severe infection
- moderate to severe liver disease
as Polatuzumab vedotin may not be suitable for you.
Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with this medicine and for at least 2-3 months after your last dose.
Alert your doctor if you have been recently vaccinated. You must avoid any vaccinations without consulting with your doctor.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- previous nerve problems
- mild liver disease
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant.
It is important that you do not get pregnant while being treated with this medicine. Both men and women must use proven birth control methods during Polatuzumab vedotin therapy and for at least 3-9 months (in women) or at least 3-6 months (in men) after stopping the treatment. You may wish to discuss birth control methods with your doctor or pharmacist.
Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Pregnancy tests must be done before treatment to know if this medicine is suited for you to use.
- Your doctor may also screen you for hepatitis virus before starting the treatment.
- Routine tests (e.g. liver function, complete blood count) may be done while you are being treated with Polatuzumab vedotin. Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have these tests.
- Regular monitoring for signs and symptoms of infection and infusion-related reactions may also be needed.
Polatuzumab vedotin may cause dizziness, tiredness, or blurred vision. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert or need to see clearly.
Other side effects include any of the following: cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain, constipation, joint pain, decreased appetite, weight loss, and skin itching.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- signs of infusion-related reactions e.g. fever, chills, rash, breathing difficulties
- numbness or tingling sensation in the hands or feet, muscle weakness
- confusion, loss of balance, difficulty talking or walking, changes in vision
- yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark coloured urine, swelling in the legs and ankles
This medicine may cause the level of your red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets to drop.
Red blood cells carry oxygen around your body. A fall in the level of red blood cells may make you feel tired and worn out.
White blood cells help your body to fight infections. A fall in the level of your white blood cells may put you at higher risk for infections, such as coughs, colds and flu, which may lead to more serious infections. Avoid crowded places and people who are sick. Inform your doctor if you have a fever, or a cough or flu that does not go away.
Platelets help your blood to clot when there is a cut in the skin. A fall in the level of your platelets may put you at risk of bleeding more than usual. Do not take part in activities where you may fall or get injured, such as contact sports. Inform your doctor if you get any unusual bruising (large bruises or several bruises, especially if the bruises appeared on their own) or bleeding that takes a long time to stop (for example, too much bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth).
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Avoid vaccinations during treatment with Polatuzumab vedotin. Alert your doctor if you have been recently vaccinated or if you are planning to get vaccinated.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- medicines to treat fungal infection e.g. ketoconazole, itraconazole
- certain antibiotics e.g. clarithromycin, telithromycin
- medicines for HIV infection e.g. indinavir, cobicistat
- medicines for hepatitis C infection e.g. boceprevir, telaprevir
- medicines for epilepsy (fits or seizures) e.g. carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin
- nefazodone (medicine to treat depression)
- rifampicin (medicine to treat TB, an infection known as tuberculosis)
- St. John’s wort (herbal medicine)
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Polatuzumab vedotin.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in the refrigerator, between 2-8°C. Do not freeze Polatuzumab vedotin otherwise, it will no longer be effective and should not be used.
Protect from light or direct sunlight.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.
As this is a cancer medicine, always return any unused or expired medicine to the clinic, hospital, or pharmacy for disposal.