Cetuximab Side Effects
What should I watch for?
Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. This drug may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon, as chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment even though you feel ill unless your doctor tells you to stop.
This medicine can make you more sensitive to the sun. Keep out of the sun while taking this medicine and for 2 months after the last dose. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or tanning beds/booths.
You may need blood work done while you are taking this medicine.
In some cases, you may be given additional medicines to help with side effects. Follow all directions for their use.
Call your doctor or health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. This drug decreases your body's ability to fight infections. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.
Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Use adequate birth control methods. Avoid pregnancy for at least 2 months after your last dose. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine or during the 2 months after your last dose.
Common and Rare Side Effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Blemishes on the skin or pimples
bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
body aches or pain
deep cracks, grooves, or lines in the skin
difficult or labored breathing
lower back or side pain
painful or difficult urination
rapid weight gain
severe dry skin
tender, swollen glands in the neck
tightness in the chest
tingling of the hands or feet
trouble with breathing on exertion
trouble with swallowing
unusual bleeding or bruising
unusual tiredness or weakness
unusual weight gain or loss
black, tarry stools
increase in heart rate
rapid, shallow breathing
sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
burning, dry, or itching eyes
difficulty having a bowel movement
discharge from the eye
discoloration of the fingernails or toenails
feeling sad or empty
hair loss or thinning of the hair
lack or loss of appetite
lack or loss of strength
loss of interest or pleasure
redness, pain, or swelling of the eye, eyelid, or inner lining of the eyelid
stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
swelling or inflammation of the mouth
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.