Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Birth control: This medication may cause infants to be born without B-cells if this medication is used by the mother during pregnancy. Women of childbearing age who are taking obinutuzumab should use an effective method of birth control such as condoms during treatment and for 18 months after stopping the medication.
Heart disease: Obinutuzumab may cause severe cardiovascular reactions, such as heart attack, irregular heartbeat, angina or stroke. People who already have heart disease, may find that this medication makes their symptoms of heart disease worse. If you have any form of heart disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation: People who have had hepatitis B infections may find that this infection returns with the use of obinutuzumab. Obinutuzumab works by reducing the number of infection-fighting white blood cells. By doing so, the hepatitis B virus may be reactivated, causing liver damage.
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms of liver problems such as fatigue, feeling unwell, loss of appetite, nausea, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, pale stools, abdominal pain or swelling, and itchy skin.
Infection: Obinutuzumab is intended to reduce the number of B-cells, which are specific types of cells that fight infection in the body. This reduces your body’s ability to fight infections. If possible, avoid contact with people with contagious infections. Tell your doctor immediately if you notice signs of an infection, such as fever or chills, severe diarrhea, shortness of breath, prolonged dizziness, headache, stiff neck, weight loss, or listlessness. Your doctor will do blood tests regularly to monitor the number of specific types of blood cells in your blood.
Infusion reactions: This medication can cause a hypersensitivity or infusion reaction. Symptoms of this type of reaction generally appear during the infusion of the medication and may include flushing, itchiness, hives, chest pain, shortness of breath, and a dramatic drop in blood pressure. These reactions can cause death if a health care provider is not informed immediately. If you experience any of these symptoms, or notice them happening to someone, let your nurse or doctor know immediately.
Kidney function: Kidney disease or reduced kidney function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have reduced kidney function or kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML):There have been reports of PML after using obinutuzumab. PML is a rare disorder that causes nerve damage in the brain. If you experience memory loss, vision loss, trouble thinking, or difficulty walking, contact your doctor immediately.
Tumour lysis syndrome: Obinutuzumab, like many other cancer medications, causes many cancer cells to be suddenly killed when treatment is first started. This can overwhelm the body with waste products from the cells. As a result, the body may not be able to keep up with getting rid of all the waste. When this happens, you may experience nausea, shortness of breath, notice cloudy urine or joint pain or muscle spasms. This is called tumour lysis syndrome. Your doctor may prescribe some medications to help your body get rid of the waste products. Make sure you understand how to use these medications and report any of these signs or symptoms to your doctor immediately.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: This medication may pass into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are receiving obinutuzumab, it may affect your baby. Because the potential for harm to an infant is not known, you should stop breast-feeding if you are receiving obinutuzumab.
Women who have used obinutuzumab in the past should not breast-feed for at least 18 months after stopping this medication.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.
Seniors: It is likely that people over the age of 75 will experience more side effects and more severe side effects. If you are over age 75, you should report any unusual effects to your doctor as soon as possible.