Consumer information, dosage, igredients, description, price, photo

Generic Name: Nanoparticle, albumin-bound paclitaxel
Product Name: Abraxane

Abraxane indication

Abraxane is indicated for the treatment of metastatic breast cancers (cancers of the breast which have spread to other sites of the body). It is used to treat adult patients who have been unsuccessfully treated with anthracycline (another medicine used to treat metastatic breast cancer).

Abraxane action



Paclitaxel, the active ingredient in Abraxane, is a naturally occurring anti-microtubule agent which interferes with the process of cell division and replication, known as mitosis.

Microtubules (small bundles of protein within a cell) have an integral role to play in mitosis. If microtubules cannot perform their function, then cell division and replication cannot occur. As cancerous cells must replicate themselves in order for cancerous tumours to grow, inhibiting the function of microtubules effectively stops the growth of cancerous tumours.

Abraxane dose advice

Dose information

Abraxane should be administered under the supervision of a health professional who has experience administering anti-cancer drugs. The doctor will be able to offer patients further information about the drug, the correct dose and administration.

The administering doctor will calculate the exact dose of Abraxane required for each individual patient, as the dose is dependent on the individual’s body weight.

Abraxane is administered intravenously (i.e. through an intravenous drip, which allows the medication to enter the bloodstream slowly and consistently), over a period of 30 minutes, once every three weeks.

A doctor will prepare the Abraxane as a fluid, and inject the solution into an intravenous fluid bag. The patient will then be injected with an intravenous needle connected to the bag containing Abraxane.

If you have any queries about the correct way to use Abraxane, please ask your doctor.

Abraxane contraindications

Abraxane is contraindicated in certain circumstance. It should not be used in patients:

  • With severely low concentrations of blood neutrophils
  • Who have previously experienced hypersensitivity reactions to medications containing paclitaxel or albumin
  • Have severely impaired liver function
  • Have severe nerve degeneration

Abraxane precautions

Abraxane can only be administered by doctors with experience managing the use of cancer therapeutic medications.

As Abraxane is an anticancer drug which works by destroying cancerous cells, it is toxic, and may result in severe side effects in some individuals. The treating doctor will therefore be guided by the following precautions when administering the treatment:

Children: Abraxane has not been tested for treating children, and it is therefore not known whether or not it can be safely administered to children.
Blood test for neutropaenia and reduced platelets: Patients treated with Abraxane commonly develop low concentrations of either neutrophils (a condition known as neutropaenia) or platelets in their blood. Severe forms of these conditions can be dangerous to the patient’s health, so the doctor will usually test the patient’s blood regularly to check that platelet and neutrophil levels are normal. If a blood test reveals severely low concentrations of either, the doctor may stop Abraxane treatment until blood concentrations return to normal, and reduce the dose of Abraxane which is administered in future treatments.
Sensory neuropathy: Patients treated with Abraxane commonly experience nerve degeneration, which often results in a condition called sensory neuropathy. Patients experiencing sensory neuropathy may become uncoordinated and increasingly sensitive to touch, and may lose their balance. While sensory neuropathy is often a mild condition, if symptoms become severe, the doctor is likely to withdraw Abraxane treatment until the symptoms resolve.
Impaired liver function: Patients with impaired liver function are thought to be at an increased risk due to the toxic effects of Abraxane, as their liver does not function normally and is therefore unable to efficiently remove toxins from the body. It is therefore unlikely that a doctor will administer Abraxane to patients with severely impaired liver function.
Reduced fertility: In laboratory studies, Abraxane has been shown to reduce fertility in male rats, a common trait of chemotherapy drugs. Doctors may therefore advise patients being treated with Abraxane who wish to have children in the future to cryopreserve their sperm or eggs for use in in vitro fertilisation or other assisted reproductive techniques in the future.
Interactions with other medications: While no studies of humans have been undertaken to determine the ways in which Abraxane interacts with other drugs, laboratory studies indicate that the following medications may interefere with the action of Abraxane, and caution should therefore be used:

  • Erythromycin
  • Ritonavir
  • Rifampicin
  • Phenytoin
  • Quinidine
  • PEG-25 castor oil
  • Quercetin
  • Clozapine
  • Morin
  • Resveratrol

Use in pregnancy of Abraxane

Abraxane is a Pregnancy Category D medication. The use of Abraxane is contraindicated during pregnancy. Women of reproductive age should avoid becoming pregnant while taking Abraxane, as it is thought to interfere with the development of the foetus.

Use in lactation of Abraxane

Abraxane should not be used while breastfeeding.


Abraxane is a Schedule 4 medication.

Abraxane common side effects

All medications have side effects which affect a proportion of patients who take the drug. Medications used in anti-cancer treatment are typically associated with a wide range of side effects, because of the highly toxic nature of the drugs. The side effects associated with Abraxane impact on a number of body systems and the severity of side effects will be monitored by the treating doctor.

Very common side effects

Side effects reported in 10% or more of Abraxane users are:

  • Blood and lymphatic system disorder: neutropaenia, anaemia, leucopaenia, thrombocytopaenia, lymphopaenia (absence or scarcity of lymphocytes in blood);
  • Metabolism and nutrition disorders: anorexia;
  • Nervous system disorders: peripheral neuropathy, nerve degeneration, impaired sense of touch, paraesthesia;
  • Gastrointestinal disorders: nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, constipation, inflammation of the mouth;
  • Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders: hair loss, rash;
  • Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders: joint pain, muscle pain;
  • General disorders and administration site conditions: fatigue, general weakness, fever.

Common side effects

Side effects reported in 1–10% of Abraxane users are:

  • Infections and infestations: infection, urinary tract infection, infection of hair follicles, upper respiratory tract infection, candidiasis, sinusitis;
  • Blood and lymphatic system disorders: febrile neutropaenia (development of fever with reduced neutrophil concentration in blood);
  • Metabolism and nutrition disorders: dehydration, decreased appetite, reduced potassium in blood;
  • Psychiatric disorders: insomnia, depression, anxiety
  • Nervous system disorders: peripheral sensory neuropathy, headache, abnormal sense of taste, dizziness, peripheral motor neuropathy, ataxia, sensory disturbance, sleepiness;
  • Eye disorders: increased tear production, blurred vision, dry eye, loss of eyelashes;
  • Ear and labyrinth disorders: vertigo;
  • Cardiac disorders: tachycardia;
  • Vascular disorders: flushing, hot flushes, hypertension, lymphoedema (excess lymph in intracellular spaces due to reduced lymph drainage);
  • Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders: breathlessness, nose bleed, sore throat, cough, rhinitis, runny nose;
  • Gastrointestinal disorders: abdominal pain, abdominal distension, upper abdominal pain, indigestion, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, reduced sense of touch in the mouth;
  • Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders: nail disorder, skin irritation, dry skin, redness of skin, nail discolouration, skin hyperpigmentation, loosening of nail from bed;
  • Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders: pain in extremities, bone pain, back pain, muscle cramps, limb pain;
  • General disorders and administration site conditions: peripheral oedema, mucosal inflammation, pain, rigors (intense shivering induced by bodily temperature changes), oedema, weakness, decreased performance status, chest pain, flu-like illness, malaise, lethargy, very high fever.
  • Uncommon side effects

Side effects reported in 0.1–1% of Abraxane users are:

  • Infections and infestations: oral candidiasis, inflammation of the nasal and pharynx passages, inflammation of connective tissues, herpes simplex, viral infection, pneumonia, catheter-related infection, fungal infection, herpes zoster, injection site infection;
  • Neoplasm related disorders: metastatic pain, tumour necrosis (death of a portion of the tumour);
  • Metabolism and nutrition disorders: low phosphate levels in blood, fluid retention, low albumin levels in blood, thirst, high blood sugar, low blood calcium, low blood sugar, low blood sodium;
  • Psychiatric disorders: restlessness;
  • Nervous system disorders: polyneuropathy (multiple nervous function disorders occurring simultaneously), absence of reflexes (e.g. knee jerk reaction), dyskinesia, reduced reflexes, sharp stabbing pain, sensory loss, syncope, postural dizziness, neuropathic pain, tremor;
  • Eye disorders: eye irritation, eye pain, abnormal vision, reduced visual acuity, conjunctivitis, visual disturbance;
  • Ear and labyrinth disorders: ear pain, tinnitus;
  • Vascular disorders: hypotension, peripheral coldness, orthostatic hypotension;
  • Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders: productive cough, difficulty breathing following exertion, sinus congestion, decreased breath sounds, pleural effusion, allergic rhinitis, hoarseness, nasal congestion, nasal dryness, wheezing;
  • Gastrointestinal disorders: difficulty swallowing, flatulence, painful tongue, dry mouth, painful gums, loose stools, inflammation of the oesophagus, lower abdominal pain, mouth ulceration, oral pain, rectal bleeding;
  • Hepatobiliary disorders: excessive bilirubin in blood, enlarged liver;
  • Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders: nail bed tenderness, urticaria, skin pain, sensitivity to light, pigmentation disorder, irritation rash, skin disorder, excessive perspiration, separation of nail from bed, spotty red rash, generalised rash, dermatitis, night sweats, lumpy red rash, absence of pigment, reduced body hair, nail discomfort, generalised skin irritation, flat red spotty rash, rash of raised red lumps, skin lesions, swollen face;
  • Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders: chest wall pain, muscular weakness, neck pain, groin pain, muscle spasms, musculoskeletal pain, flank pain, limb discomfort, muscle weakness;
  • Renal and urinary disorders: dysuria, frequent daytime urination, haematuria, nocturia, polyuria, urinary incontinence;
  • Reproductive system and breast disorders: breast pain;
  • General disorders and administration site conditions: chest discomfort, abnormal gait, swelling, injection site reaction
  • Investigations: increased blood pressure, increased weight, increased blood lactate dehydrogenase, increased blood creatinine, increased blood glucose, increased blood phosphorus, decreased blood potassium;
  • Injury, poisoning and procedural complications: bruising.

Rare side effects

Side effects reported in 0.01–0.1% of Abraxane users are:

  • Immune system disorders: hypersensitivity;
  • Vascular disorders: blood clot in the heart or veins;
  • Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders: inflammation of the tissues surrounding the lungs;
  • Injury, poisoning and procedural complications: radiation recall phenomenon.
  • Consult your doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms, or any other unusual or abnormal symptoms that concern you.
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