Frequently Asked Questions about Abecma
What is Abecma?
Abecma is the first tailored cell therapy approved by Health Canada for treating multiple myeloma in adults who did not respond well to their last treatment and have taken at least three therapies.
What is multiple myeloma?
Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer affecting plasma cells, a type of white blood cells. Healthy cells help you fight infections by making antibodies against them. The cancerous cells build up in bone marrow, crowding the healthy cells. These cancer cells produce proteins that have harmful effects on your body.
What are the Uses of Abecma?
Abecma Label Use
- Abecma or Idecabtagene vicleucel is a prescription injection used to treat certain types of multiple myeloma.
- Abecma is to be used only in adult patients who have relapsed cancer or is unresponsive after four or more prior line of treatment.
Abecma Off-label Use
There is no off-label use of the medicine so far.
How do you use Abecma? How to take it, when and other directions for use.
- Abecma is provided as a single dose for infusion suspension containing specific amounts of T-cells depending upon the patient’s body weight. The injection is to be taken in a doctor’s office or infusion center only. It is given over 30 minutes as a one-time dose.
- Before Abecma administration, a sample of your white blood cells will be taken at the collection center. Since this medication is made from your own cells, it is to be used for self-use only. It is vital to be on time and not miss your scheduled appointment at the collection center or receive your treatment.
- Administer ABECMA 2 days after completing lymphodepleting chemotherapy (treatment with cyclophosphamide and fludarabine for three days). This is mainly done to prepare your body for Abecma administration.
- You should plan to stay within 2 hours of the location where you will be receiving your doses of Abecma. The treatment will continue at least for four weeks. Your healthcare worker will check for any side effects and impact of the treatment.
- In case if you miss the appointment to collect your cells, you must call your doctor and collection center immediately. If you miss your scheduled appointment for Abecma administration, call your doctor immediately.
What is Abecma made of? Ingredients and Benefits.
The active ingredient of Abecma is active ingredient is Abecma is idecabtagene vicleucel.
It belongs to the autologous cellular immunotherapy class of medication, prepared using cells from the patient’s own blood. Idecabtagene vicleucel works by causing the body’s immune system to fight against cancer cells. It is the first personalized therapy.
How to store and dispose of Abecma?
- Store the medicine frozen in the vapor phase of liquid nitrogen (less than or equal to minus 130°C).
- Thaw ABECMA before infusion
What are the side effects of Abecma?
Like all the medications, Abecma also has side effects. It is possible that you may experience the following side effects. Inform your physician if these symptoms are severe or if they do not do away.
Common side effects:
- Dry eyes
- Mouth pain
- Dry mouth
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
Some of these effects may be serious. If you experience any of them, please get in touch with your physician immediately.
Serious side effects:
- Decrease in urination frequency or decrease in urine output
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Swelling of face, lips, eyes, feet, ankles, tongue, throat, hands, arms, or lower limbs
This is not a complete list. If you experience severe side effects or symptoms that are persistent, please contact your health worker immediately.
What to watch out for when considering Abecma?
Inform your healthcare provider in case of an allergy to Abecma or dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) or any of the ingredients in Idecabtagene vicleucel injection. Ask your pharmacist or check the Medication Guide for a list of the ingredients.
Do not take or inform your doctor if you have or had following conditions;
- Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you had reactions from previous chemotherapy such as breathing issues, irregular heartbeat
- Inform your health worker if you have liver, kidney, heart, or lung disease
Abecma and pregnancy, what to wath out for?
Besides, inform your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or planning to be pregnant. You need to undergo a pregnancy test before you start the treatment. You should use birth control methods to prevent pregnancy while you are on the treatment.
Please get in touch with your physician immediately if you become pregnant while you are on Abecma treatment, as it may harm the fetus.
Abecma may increase the risk of developing other cancers. Discuss with your physician the risk of receiving medication.
What are some serious warnings and precautions when taking Abecma?
Inform your health worker about other prescription and non-prescription medications that you are taking. Also, inform about vitamins, herbal and nutritional supplements that you are taking or planning to take.
Inform your doctor or laboratory personnel that you are on Abecma before having any laboratory investigations as the medication affects results of certain laboratory tests.
Abecma injection may make you drowsy and cause confusion, weakness, seizures, dizziness, and coordination problems. So, avoid a driving car or heavy machinery for at least eight weeks after your dose with Abecma.
Do not donate blood, organs, tissues, and cells for transplantation while you are on treatment with Abecma.
What medication interactions with Abecma?
Abecma may interact with any of the following medications or inform your doctor if you are taking any of the below-mentioned medication:
The list is not comprehensive, and other drugs may interact with Abecma. You should mention all the medications that you are taking.
Who Can Use Abecma?
Abecma is approved in Canada to treat adult patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma who have had four or more treatments, including immunotherapy.
What Are The Most Common Side Effects?
Fever, nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, chills, and decreased appetite are the most common side effects.
Is There A Generic Version of Abecma?
Idecabtagene vicleucel is the generic version of Abecma.
How Is This Medication Different from Others In The Treatment Of Ailment?
According to the results of various studies, Abecma is the first tailored cell therapy approved by Health Canada for treating multiple myeloma that uses the patient’s own cells for treatment.