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Dinutuximab (Unituxin)

How does this medicine work?

Dinutuximab (Unituxin®) is a monoclonal antibody. These are laboratory-produced substances that can locate and bind to cancer cells anywhere in the body. Dinutuximab binds to neuroblastoma cells and destroys them.

How is the medicine given?

Dinutuximab  is given as an infusion through a vein (IV) or venous access device over 5 hours or longer.

Pre-medications are given to help prevent side effects during the infusion. Your child will be monitored closely during the infusion.

Are there any precautions about food or other medicines?

Steroids may not be given to patients who are on dinutuximab.

Your child should not get any immunizations without the doctor's approval.

Check with the doctor, nurse practitioner, or pharmacist before giving any other prescription or non-prescription medicines, herbs, or vitamins.

What are the side effects?

Common

  • burning, prickling, numbness, or tingling
  • abdominal (belly) pain
  • nerve pain
  • mild nausea and vomiting
  • low or high blood pressure
  • hives
  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • fast heartbeat
  • electrolyte changes

Occasional

  • seizures
  • diarrhea
  • fluid build-up in tissues
  • pain, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness in various parts of the body
  • swollen lymph glands
  • drowsiness
  • low level of protein in blood
  • high liver and kidney function tests
  • weight loss
  • drooping of eyelids
  • blurred vision, slowing of eye pupils' response to light
  • low platelet count
  • feeling tired
  • joint pain

Rare

  • leaking of fluid in lungs resulting in severe trouble breathing
  • severely high or low blood pressure
  • spasm of airways
  • numbness
  • life-threatening allergic reaction
  • swelling of the back of the eye cause by pressure in the brain
  • damage to the optic nerve (nerve from the brain to the eye) causing decreased vision

When should I call the clinic?

  • fever or chills
  • cough
  • hoarseness
  • black, tarry stools
  • blood in urine or stools
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin (called petechiae)
  • signs of allergic reaction:
    - rash or hives
    - wheezing
    - trouble breathing - call 911

What else do I need to know?

Before and during the dinutuximab infusion, your child will receive an IV infusion of narcotic pain medicine. This will be decreased for several hours and then stopped.

Your child will also receive infusions of interleukin-2 or GM-CSF before the infusion of dinutuximab. These medicines activate the body's immune cells and increase the effectiveness of the dinutuximab.

Vital signs will be checked often during the first hour of the infusion, and then hourly for the rest of the infusion, to watch for any side effects listed above.

Blood samples will be needed to check the effects of dinutuximab.

You and your child should know the names of all the medicines he or she is taking. Share this information with anyone involved in your child's care.

Questions?

If you have any questions, please call the oncology clinic or pharmacy.

Last reviewed 1/2016 ©Copyright

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Family Resource Center library, or visit www.childrensmn.org/educationmaterials.

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