Paclitaxel (with albumin) injection may cause a large decrease in the number of white blood cells (a type of blood cell that is needed to fight infection) in your blood. This increases the risk that you will develop a serious infection. You should not receive paclitaxel (with albumin) if you already have a low number of white blood cells. Your doctor will order laboratory tests before and during your treatment to check the number of white blood cells in your blood. Your doctor will delay or interrupt your treatment if the number of white blood cells is too low. Call your doctor immediately if you develop a temperature greater than 100.4 °F (38 °C); a sore throat; cough; chills; difficult, frequent, or painful urination; or other signs of infection during your treatment with paclitaxel injection.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain tests to check your body's response to paclitaxel (with albumin) injection.
Talk to your doctor about the risks of receiving paclitaxel (with albumin) injection.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Paclitaxel (with albumin) injection is used to treat breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and has not improved or worsened after treatment with other medications. Paclitaxel (with albumin) injection is also used in combination with other chemotherapy medications to treat non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Paclitaxel (with albumin) injection is used in combination with gemcitabine (Gemzar) to treat cancer of the pancreas. Paclitaxel is in a class of medications called antimicrotubule agents. It works by stopping the growth and spread of cancer cells.
How should this medicine be used?
Paclitaxel (with albumin) injection comes as a powder to be mixed with liquid to be injected over 30 minutes intravenously (into a vein) by a doctor or nurse in a medical facility. When paclitaxel (with albumin) injection is used to treat breast cancer, it is usually given once every 3 weeks. When paclitaxel (with albumin) injection is used to treat non-small cell lung cancer it is usually given on days 1, 8, and 15 as part of a 3 week cycle. When paclitaxel (with albumin) injection is used to treat cancer of the pancreas, it is usually given on day 1, 8, and 15 as part of a 4 week cycle. These cycles may be repeated for as long as your doctor recommends.
Your doctor may need to interrupt your treatment, reduce your dose, or stop your treatment depending on your response to the medication and any side effects that you experience. Be sure to tell your doctor how you are feeling during your treatment.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.
Other uses for this medicine
Paclitaxel injection is also sometimes used to treat cancer of the head and neck, esophagus (tube that connects the mouth and stomach), bladder, endometrium (lining of the uterus), and cervix (opening of the uterus). Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication for your condition.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before receiving paclitaxel (with albumin) injection,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to paclitaxel, docetaxel, any other medications, or human albumin, Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you do not know if a medication that you are allergic to contains human albumin.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: buspirone (Buspar); carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol); certain medications used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) such as atazanavir (Reyataz, in Evotaz); indinavir (Crixivan), nelfinavir (Viracept), ritonavir (Norvir, in Kaletra, in Viekira Pak), and saquinavir (Invirase); clarithromycin (Biaxin, in Prevpac); eletriptan (Relpax); felodipine; gemfibrozil (Lopid); itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox); ketoconazole (Nizoral); lovastatin (Altoprev); midazolam; nefazodone; phenobarbital; phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek); repaglinide (Prandin, in Prandimet); rifampin (Rimactane, Rifadin, in Rifamate, in Rifater); rosiglitazone (Avandia, in Avandaryl, in Avandamet); sildenafil (Revatio, Viagra); simvastatin (Flolipid, Zocor, in Vytorin); telithromycin (Ketek; not available in the U.S.); and triazolam (Halcion). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. Many other medications may also interact with paclitaxel, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver, kidney, or heart disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, or if you plan to father a child. You or your partner should not become pregnant while you are receiving paclitaxel (with albumin) injection. Your doctor may perform a pregnancy test to be sure that you are not pregnant when you begin receiving paclitaxel (with albumin) injection. If you are female, you should use birth control during your treatment with paclitaxel (with albumin) injection and for at least 6 months after your final dose. If you are male, you and your female partner should use birth control during your treatment with paclitaxel (with albumin) and continue for 3 months after you stop receiving paclitaxel (with albumin) injection. Talk to your doctor about birth control methods that will work for you. If you or your partner become pregnant while receiving paclitaxel (with albumin) injection, call your doctor. Paclitaxel may harm the fetus.
- tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You should not breast-feed while you are receiving paclitaxel (with albumin) injection and for 2 weeks after your final dose.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are receiving paclitaxel (with albumin) injection.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Paclitaxel (with albumin) may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- pain, redness, swelling, or sores in the place where the medication was injected
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- sores in the mouth or throat
- hair loss
- swelling of the hands, feet, ankles or lower legs
- blurred vision or vision changes
- decreased urination
- dry mouth
- muscle pain or cramps
- joint pain
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:
- numbness, burning, or tingling in the hands or feet
- sudden onset of dry cough that doesn't go away
- shortness of breath
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- swelling of the eyes, face, mouth, lips, tongue, or throat
- pale skin
- excessive tiredness
- unusual bruising or bleeding
- chest pain
- slow or irregular heartbeat
Paclitaxel (with albumin) may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
- pale skin
- shortness of breath
- excessive tiredness
- sore throat, fever, chills, and other signs of infection
- unusual bruising or bleeding
- numbness, burning, or tingling of the hands and feet
- sores in the mouth
What other information should I know?
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.