This section is intended for patients prescribed ADCETRIS. If you are a member of the public click here. If you are a UK healthcare professional click here.

Safety1,2

Like all anti-cancer drugs, brentuximab vedotin can cause side effects, but not everybody gets them, and each person will experience them differently and some are more likely to occur than others. It is important to tell your treating doctor or nurse about any side effects so they can be monitored and, where possible, treated.

If you experience any side effects, including those not listed, or if you are concerned about any other symptoms, talk to your treating doctor or nurse.

There are some side effects that are important to look out for. Tell your doctor straight away if you notice any of the following:


Feeling of weakness

Flu like symptoms followed by a painful blistering rash

Symptoms of inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) such as severe and persistent stomach pain, with or without nausea and vomiting

Constipation

Diarrhoea, vomiting

Fever, chills

Feeling tired, frequently needing to urinate, increased thirst, increased appetite with unintended weight loss and irritability

Unusual bleeding or bruising under the skin, longer than usual bleeding after your blood has been drawn or bleeding from your gums

Headaches, dizziness or pale complexion

Shortness of breath or cough

Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML)

You should be aware of the signs and symptoms of a condition called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). PML is a rare but serious and potentially fatal brain condition that has been reported in a small number of patients who received brentuximab vedotin after previously receiving multiple rounds of cancer treatment.

PML symptoms include:

  • confusion
  • memory loss
  • blurred or loss of vision
  • decreased strength
  • decreased control or sensation in one or more arm or leg
  • a change in the way of walking or loss of balance

If you have these symptoms prior to treatment with brentuximab vedotin, tell your doctor immediately about any changes in these symptoms. You should also inform your partner or caregivers about your treatment, since they may notice symptoms that you are not aware of.

Bleomycin

You should not take brentuximab vedotin if you are allergic to it or any of the other ingredients of this medicine or if you are currently receiving another chemotherapy drug called bleomycin.

Driving or using machinery

Your treatment may influence your ability to drive or operate machinery, so if you feel unwell during treatment, do not drive or operate machinery.

Male fertility

Brentuximab vedotin may affect male fertility, so men being treated with brentuximab vedotin are advised to have sperm samples frozen and stored before treatment.

Brentuximab vedotin may affect cell division so you are advised not to father a child during treatment and for up to 6 months following the last dose. You and your partner should use two methods of effective contraception during your treatment with brentuximab vedotin.

This could be a barrier method, such as the male condom or the diaphragm, and a method which has a low failure rate when used correctly, such as contraceptive injections, implants, intra-uterine devices with copper or hormone or combined contraceptive pills or patches.

Pregnancy or breastfeeding

You should not use brentuximab vedotin if you are pregnant unless you and your doctor decide that the benefit to you outweighs the potential risk to the unborn baby.

You and your partner should use two methods of effective contraception during your treatment with brentuximab vedotin. Women being treated with brentuximab vedotin must continue using contraception for 6 months following the last dose.

It is important to tell your doctor before and during treatment if you are pregnant, think you may be pregnant, or are planning to get pregnant. If you are breast feeding, you should discuss with your doctor whether you should receive this medicine.

Below is a list of the very common and common side effects which may be experienced following brentuximab vedotin.

Very common side effects

Side effects that affect more than 1 in 10 people (very common):

Decreased level of white blood cells

Infection

Diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting

Itching

Muscle pain

Fatigue, pyrexia, infusion-related reactions

Shortness of breath or cough

Upper respiratory tract infection

Feeling of weakness

Constipation

Abdominal pain

Joint pain or painful, swollen joints

Decrease in weight

Common side effects

Side effects that affect more than 1 in 100 people but less than 1 in 10 people (common):

Pneumonia

Decreased level of blood platelets

Dizziness

Blisters which may crust or scab

Increased level of blood sugar

Increased liver enzyme levels

Chills or shivering

Unusual hair loss or thinning

Sore, creamy-yellow, raised patches in the mouth (thrush)

Will I react to the infusion?

Medicines of this type (monoclonal antibodies) can cause infusion reactions such as:

  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Feeling or being sick
  • A rash
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A tight chest
  • Fever
  • Back pain

Infusion reactions to this medicine affect more than 1 in 10 people. In general, these types of reactions may occur within minutes to several hours following completion of the infusion. They may develop more than several hours after completion of the infusion but this is uncommon. It is important to tell your doctor if you experience infusion reactions as they can be serious, or even fatal. If you think you have had a similar reaction before, tell your doctor before you are given brentuximab vedotin.

If you develop infusion reactions, your doctor may stop treatment with brentuximab vedotin and start support treatment. If your infusion is restarted, your doctor may increase the time over which your infusion is given so that you may be able to tolerate it better. You may also be given other medicines such as anti-histamines, corticosteroids or paracetamol to help reduce these reactions.

Adcetris Management Tracker

Some cancer treatments can affect the nerves in the body, causing a condition known as peripheral neuropathy (PN). If you are being treated with anticancer drugs, your healthcare professional (HCP) will monitor you for signs and symptoms of PN before each of your treatment cycles.

Early detection of PN will give you the best chance of managing symptoms, and can prevent further damage to nerves.

If you experience any of the signs of PN, or any other side effects, let your healthcare professional know as soon as possible so that they can help you to manage them in the best way and get you back on track with your treatment.

Download diary

Signs of PN

Difficulty with any of the following activities are signs that you may be suffering from PN:

Holding and using everyday objects:

  • Mobile phone
  • Pen
  • Small objects

Using buttons or zips on clothing

Tying your shoelaces

Symptoms of PN

The following symptoms of PN typically occur in the toes, feet, calves, fingers and hands:

Tingling

Burning

Numbness

Weakness

You may experience other signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy and you should contact your healthcare professional team if you have any concerns.


Managing PN

The key to managing peripheral neuropathy and optimising treatment with brentuximab vedotin is to discuss these symptoms immediately with your doctor or nurse so that they can help you manage them. Your healthcare professional may:

  • give medications to relieve symptoms
  • lower your dose of brentuximab vedotin, or
  • interrupt your treatment until your symptoms get better, or
  • may stop treatment with brentuximab vedotin

Takeda Oncology has developed a diary for patients prescribed brentuximab vedotin to help them track any symptoms and feelings of neuropathy. Click on the image to view the diary and instructions on how to use it.

You can download the diary and print it out so you can keep a record of where symptoms are happening to share with your doctor or nurse.

Information and support

Adcetris Patients Guide

ADCETRIS Patient Booklet

Takeda Oncology has developed this booklet providing information for patients who have been prescribed brentuximab vedotin for Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) or systemic Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (sALCL).

Adcetris Management Tracker

Peripheral Neuropathy Diary

Takeda Oncology has developed this diary for you to print, and record your symptoms, in particular symptoms related to peripheral neuropathy. This information can be shared with your healthcare professional to help you to continue with your brentuximab vedotin treatment.

Reporting of side effects

ADCETRIS (brentuximab vedotin) is subject to additional monitoring. This will allow quick identification of new safety information.
You can help by reporting any side effects you may get. If you get any side effects whilst taking ADCETRIS, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse.
This includes any possible side effects not listed on this website or in the patient information leaflet. You can also report side effects directly via the Yellow Card Scheme at https://yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/. By reporting side effects you can help provide more information on the safety of this medicine.