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Denileukin diftitox (Injection)

Denileukin Diftitox (den-i-LOO-kin DIF-ti-tox)

Treats a type of cancer called cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. This is a rare cancer that affects certain white blood cells and causes lesions on the skin.

Brand Name(s):

Ontak

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not receive this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to denileukin diftitox, diphtheria toxin, or interleukin-2.

How to Use This Medicine:

Injectable

  • Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
  • Your doctor will prescribe your dose and schedule. This medicine is given through a needle placed in a vein. The medicine must be injected slowly, so your IV tube will need to stay in place for 30 to 60 minutes.
  • You will receive this medicine while you are in a hospital or cancer treatment center. A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
  • This medicine is usually given every day for 5 days. This 5-day treatment is given again every 21 days for several months, or until your body responds to the medicine.

If a dose is missed:

  • This medicine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss a dose, call your doctor, home health caregiver, or treatment clinic for instructions.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have heart disease.
  • This medicine may cause a serious side effect called an infusion reaction. This can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Tell your doctor or nurse right away if you have fever, chills, breathing problems, chest pain, fast or pounding heartbeat, hives, or rash after you receive the injection.
  • Call your doctor right away if you have dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position; rapid weight gain; or swelling of hands, ankles, feet, or lower legs. These may be symptoms of a rare but serious condition called capillary leak syndrome.
  • Check with your doctor right away if you have any vision changes such as decrease in vision or loss of color vision while you are using this medicine. Your doctor may want you to have your eyes checked by an eye doctor.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Aching calf or thigh pain.
  • Changes in vision.
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath.
  • Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat.
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting.
  • Pain, itching, burning, swelling, or a lump under your skin where the needle is placed.
  • Rapid weight gain.
  • Skin rash or itching.
  • Swelling in the hands, arms, legs, or feet.
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Change in taste or loss of taste.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite.
  • Trouble sleeping.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088


Last Updated: 4/4/2014

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