Bevacizumab is prescribed to treat certain types of cancer, including colon, rectal, and non-squamous, non-small cell lung cancer. It binds to and inhibits a certain type of protein that encourages the growth of new blood vessels. As a result, the cancer is essentially "starved" of its blood supply. The medication is given by injection at your healthcare provider's office. Side effects can include stomach pain, diarrhea, and nausea.
Bevacizumab (Avastin®) is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of the following conditions:
- Colon cancer
- Rectal cancer
- Non-squamous, non-small cell lung cancer
- Breast cancer
- Glioblastoma brain cancer
- Renal cell carcinoma (a type of kidney cancer).
In late 2010, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that bevacizumab's breast cancer approval be removed. Studies have not shown the drug to increase survival in people with breast cancer, and there is not sufficient benefit to outweigh the risks.
This action does not affect bevacizumab's approval for other uses. Healthcare providers may still use bevacizumab to treat breast cancer, although they will be doing so in an "off-label" fashion.
(Click What Is Bevacizumab Used For? for more information, including possible off-label uses.)
As with any medicine, side effects are possible with bevacizumab. However, not everyone who takes the drug will experience problems. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
Common side effects include but are not limited to:
- Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
(Click Side Effects of Bevacizumab to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)