Important Information for Your Healthcare ProviderTalk with your healthcare provider prior to using this medication if you have:
- Heart problems, including heart disease, heart failure, or an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
- Ever been told you have electrolyte abnormalities, such as low calcium, potassium, or magnesium blood levels
- Frequent sun exposure
- Lung disease or a history of lung disease
- Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant (see Erbitux and Pregnancy)
- Breastfeeding (see Erbitux and Breastfeeding).
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(Click Precautions and Warnings With Cetuximab to learn more, including information on who should not receive the drug.)
How Does Cetuximab Work?
Cetuximab works by binding to a receptor in the body called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). EGFR is found in normal skin cells. It is also found in head and neck, colon, and rectum cancer cells.
Normally, certain proteins, such as epidermal growth factor, bind to EGFR and tell cells to grow. By binding to EGFR, cetuximab blocks these proteins from binding, which slows the growth of cancer cells. This medication does not cure cancer, however.