Cancer Home > What Is Ofatumumab Used For?

If you have chronic lymphocytic leukemia that has not adequately responded to certain other chemotherapy treatment, or if you cannot take other treatments, your healthcare provider may prescribe ofatumumab. This drug works by binding to an antigen found on certain cells in the body, which causes the immune system to attack and destroy the leukemia cells. On occasion, a healthcare provider may recommend using ofatumumab "off-label" to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

An Overview of Uses for Ofatumumab

Ofatumumab (Arzerra®) is a prescription injectable medication approved for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in people who did not adequately respond to treatment with alemtuzumab (Campath®) and fludarabine (Fludara®). It is also approved for use in combination with chlorambucil in previously untreated people who are not considered good candidates for fludarabine-based treatment. It belongs to a group of medicines known as monoclonal antibodies. 
Leukemia is a type of cancer of the blood cells. It occurs when the bone marrow (the soft, middle part of the bone that makes blood cells) produces a large amount of abnormal blood cells, called leukemia cells. These leukemia cells live longer, and eventually crowd out normal, healthy white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets, which can cause infections and other problems.
There are four main types of leukemia, which are generally classified by how quickly the disease develops and worsens (chronic versus acute) and by which blood cells are affected (lymphoid versus myeloid) (see Types of Leukemia). Simply put, acute leukemia is fast-growing and worsens quickly, while chronic leukemia is slow-growing and worsens over years. Lymphoid leukemia starts in lymphocytes, while myeloid leukemia starts in blood cells.
CLL is a slow-growing leukemia affecting lymphocytes, a type of blood cell. This type of leukemia is more likely to develop in people who are 55 years old and older. It rarely occurs in children.
The symptoms of CLL can vary from person to person. However, common symptoms may include:
  • Frequent infections
  • Weakness or tiredness
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Pain in the bones or joints
  • Weight loss
  • Swollen lymph nodes.
(Click Leukemia Symptoms for more information.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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