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The drug Blincyto is used to treat a particular type of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the blood characterized by uncontrolled growth of white blood cells. It is different than over cancer medication such as Ibrance and Xtandi.
The active ingredient in Blincyto is blinatumomab. Your doctor will mix Blincyto with a liquid solution to make the active ingredient. Blincyto comes in powder form. Blincyto will be administered intravenously (IV) over some time.
Binatumomab belongs to the class of drugs known as monoclonal antibodies. The medication is biologic, meaning it is made from living cells. The biosimilar form of blinatumomab does not exist. It comes only as the brand-name drug Blincyto instead of a biosimilar. (Biosimilars are like generic drugs but are made for biological drugs.)
The drug is used to treat individuals with B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) who are in remission and have minimal residual disease (MRD). As well as treating adults and children with B-cell precursor ALL, Blincyto can also be used to treat adults and children who have relapsed or are not responding to previous treatment. In cases of cancer that have not responded to other treatments, Blincyto is prescribed.
You may not be a good candidate for Blincyto if you have certain medical conditions. Interactions between drugs and conditions are known as drug-condition interactions. You may also need to consider other factors when deciding whether Blincyto suits you.
Before you take Blincyto, speak with your doctor about your health history. Below is a list of factors to consider.
- You were previously treated with radiation or chemotherapy for leukemia. You should tell your doctor if you have had radiation therapy or chemotherapy for leukemia in the past before starting Blincyto treatment. Blincyto may increase your risk of nerve damage called leukoencephalopathy if you have previously received these treatments.
- Reaction to an allergen. Blincyto is unlikely to be prescribed if you have had an allergic reaction to one of its ingredients or Blincyto itself. Find out if any other medications would be better for you.
- Problems with the nervous system. Blincyto can cause severe neurological problems, including seizures, confusion, or loss of balance. Tell your doctor if you have had any of these problems or if they have happened in the past. There is a boxed warning for neurotoxicity on Blincyto. People with neurological problems aren’t known to be safe from Blincyto. You can ask your doctor if Blincyto is safe for you to take.
- An infection. It is common for Blincyto to cause infections. These infections can be severe or even life-threatening in some cases. Blincyto may make an infection worse if you already have one. Before receiving your first dose of Blincyto, tell your doctor if you feel unwell. If you have an infection, you may need to take antibiotics before or during your Blincyto treatment.
- Reaction to previous infusions. You might be more likely to experience a similar reaction with Blincyto if you have ever had an infusion reaction with another medication. An intravenous (IV) infusion reaction is a side effect that can occur during or after the infusion. Aside from swelling of the face, high or low blood pressure, fever, and skin rash, infusion reactions can also cause body swelling. Tell your doctor if you’ve had an infusion reaction with another drug before starting Blincyto.
If you have an allergy to blinatumomab or any other medications, notify your doctor or contact us, and we will set you up with a pharmacist consultation.
If you have bleeding, blood disorders, brain disorders, current infections, seizures, or are expecting a return of infection, tell your doctor before taking this medication.
There is a possibility that this drug will make you dizzy. Dizziness can be exacerbated by alcohol or marijuana (cannabis). Until you can do it safely, avoid driving, operating machinery, or performing tasks requiring alertness. Don’t drink too much alcohol. If you use marijuana (cannabis), talk to your doctor.
Be sure to tell your doctor about all your medications (including prescriptions, non-prescriptions, and herbal products).
If you have an infection, blinatumomab may increase your chances of getting an infection or may worsen one you already have. Those who may quickly spread an infection (such as chickenpox, COVID-19, measles, or flu) should be avoided. If you have been infected, speak with your doctor for more information.
You should inform your healthcare professional if you plan on getting an immunization or vaccination before taking blinatumomab. Contact with people who recently received live vaccines (such as flu inhaled through the nose) should be avoided.
Keep sharp objects away from your skin, such as razors and nail cutters, and avoid contact sports to reduce the risk of getting cut, bruised, or injured.
You may experience nausea, heartburn, constipation, shaking (tremor), swollen ankles/feet/hands, or dizziness. You should inform your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if any of these effects persist or worsen.
There may be severe side effects associated with this medication. Despite this, your doctor prescribed you this medication because the benefit to you outweighs the risk of side effects. You can reduce your risk with careful monitoring by your doctor.
It is possible that blinatumomab can cause side effects due to its ability to destroy cancer cells rapidly (tumor lysis syndrome). It may be necessary for your doctor to prescribe medication and to suggest drinking plenty of fluids to lower your risk. You should tell your doctor if you experience symptoms such as low back/side pain (flank pain), painful urination, pink/bloody urine, changes in the amount of urine, or muscle spasms.
You may be less able to fight infections when taking this medication. As a result, you may be more likely to contract a severe infection (rarely fatal) or worsen an existing infection. Whenever you have signs of infection (such as sore throat that won’t go away, fever, chills, or cough), contact your doctor as soon as possible.
It is rare for this drug to cause a severe allergic reaction. In case of any symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as rash, itching/swelling, severe dizziness, and trouble breathing, seek medical attention immediately.
There may be other side effects not listed here. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you notice other effects not listed above.
Consult your doctor if you are experiencing side effects in the US. The FDA accepts side effect reports at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
When a medication is taken with certain vaccines, foods, or other things, the medication may also not work. Interactions are the effects of these factors.
Blincyto should be taken with all medications, including prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. If you take vitamins, herbs, or supplements, please describe them. You can determine if Blincyto interacts with these items by talking to your doctor or pharmacist.
Drug or supplement interactions
All types of drugs may interact with Blincyto, but this list does not include them all. Blincyto may cause these and other interactions, which your doctor can explain.
Several types of drugs can interact with blincyto. Among these drugs are:
- Blood thinners such as Xarelto and Eliquis.
- Medications that affect your immune system, such as cyclosporine (Sandimmune)
Following your last dose of Blincyto, you must wait for your immune system to recover before getting a live vaccine. After your Blincyto treatment is over, your doctor will let you know when you can receive a live vaccine.
Consult your doctor about any necessary vaccines before beginning Blinctyo treatment.
Live vaccines can be affected by Blinctyo. Getting live vaccines during your Blincyto treatment or two weeks before starting treatment may cause complications. (Live vaccines contain weakened, live forms of the virus they’re supposed to protect you from.) They include:
- The MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine
- Yellow fever
- The chicken pox
Pregnancy or plans to become pregnant should be discussed with your doctor. Using blinatumumab while pregnant is not recommended. There is a possibility that blinatumomab could harm an unborn child. Before taking this medication, your doctor should order a pregnancy test. When using this medication and 48 hours after the last dose, ask about reliable forms of birth control. Discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor as soon as possible if you become pregnant.
There is no information on whether this medication passes into breast milk. During the use of this drug and for 48 hours after the last dose, breastfeeding is not recommended due to the possible risk to the infant. Breastfeeding should be discussed with your doctor.
Those who have overdosed and are experiencing severe symptoms, like passing out or trouble breathing, should contact 911 immediately. In any other case, contact a poison control center right away. You can reach your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 if you live in the United States.
Refrigerate after opening. Avoid freezing. Children and pets should not be allowed to have access to medications.
It is not recommended to flush medications down the toilet or pour them down the drain unless instructed. Whenever this product reaches the end of its shelf life or is no longer necessary, properly dispose of it.