Arzerra (ofatumumab) is indicated to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a cancer of a type of white blood cells called lymphocytes. It is used together with chlorambucil or bendamustine in previously untreated patients who cannot be treated with therapy based on another cancer medicine, fludarabine. It can also be used in patients whose disease has not responded to previous treatment with fludarabine and alemtuzumab. It is given to patients via infusion.
This information is based on the European Summary of Product Characteristics. The prescribing information in your country may vary; please consult your local prescribing information and/or contact your local Novartis representative.
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Important Safety Information for Arzerra (ofatumumab)
Treatment with Arzerra may cause side effects, some of which are serious and life-threatening.
Treatment with Arzerra may cause a side effect called an infusion reaction, which may be serious. Before treatment with Arzerra, doctors will prescribe 3 types of medicine to their patients to help reduce the risk of an infusion reaction, including a steroid (to reduce swelling and other symptoms of inflammation), a pain reliever, and an antihistamine (to reduce allergic reactions). Even though patients receive these medicines, they may still have an infusion reaction. If an infusion reaction occurs, the doctor will stop their patient's treatment with Arzerra so the infusion reaction can be treated. Patients should tell their doctor or seek medical treatment right away if they have any of these symptoms while receiving Arzerra or within 24 hours after receiving Arzerra: fever, chills, rash, hives, chest pain, back pain, stomach pain, swelling, dizziness, blurred vision, drowsiness, headache, cough, wheezing, or trouble breathing.
Treatment with Arzerra may cause hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection to reoccur, which may cause serious liver problems and death. Patients who are newly exposed to HBV during or following treatment with Arzerra may experience serious liver problems and death. Patients should tell their doctor if they have had HBV infection or are a carrier of HBV. Before starting Arzerra, doctors will do a blood test to check for HBV infection. In some patients, additional blood tests may be done during and several months after treatment. Patients should call their doctor right away if they feel more tired than usual or notice a yellowing of the skin or eyes. These may be symptoms of hepatitis.
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is a rare brain infection that can occur with treatment with Arzerra. PML causes severe disability and can lead to death. Patients should call their doctor right away if they notice new medical problems or problems that are getting worse, such as confusion, dizziness or loss of balance, difficulty talking or walking, or strength, vision or other problems that have lasted over several days.
Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS), including the need for a hospital stay, can occur with treatment with Arzerra. TLS is caused by the fast breakdown of cancer cells, which then release their contents into the blood. This may lead to serious problems, including kidney failure or an abnormal heartbeat. Doctors may do a blood test to check their patients for TLS and may give medicines before starting treatment with Arzerra to help prevent TLS.
Arzerra can cause low blood cell counts (white blood cells, platelets, and red blood cells). These low blood cell counts can be severe and, in some cases, lead to death. Low white blood cells counts (neutropenia), can happen during treatment. Neutropenia can occur 42 days or longer after the end of treatment with Arzerra and may also last between 24 and 42 days after the last treatment dose. Doctors should regularly check their patient's blood to see if they have low blood cell counts. Patients should call their doctor right away if they have any bleeding, bruising, red or purple spots on their skin, paleness, worsening weakness, tiredness, cough that will not go away, fever, chills, congestion, or any flu-like symptoms while receiving Arzerra.
After a patient receives Arzerra, they should not receive live vaccines until the doctor who prescribed Arzerra has told them that they may do so.
The most common side effects with Arzerra include infusion reactions, feeling tired, low white blood cell count, shortness of breath, pneumonia, rash, fever, nausea, cough, bronchitis, diarrhea, upper respiratory tract infection, and low red blood cell count.
Treatment with Arzerra can increase patients' chances for getting infections. Some infections, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and sepsis (a blood infection), can be serious, and in some cases, life-threatening. Patients should call their doctor right away if they have a cough that will not go away, fever, chills, congestion, or any flu-like symptoms while receiving Arzerra. These symptoms may be signs of a serious infection.