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Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S.—

  • Abraxane

Not commercially available in Canada.


  • Antineoplastic


Paclitaxel protein-bound (PAK-li-tax-el pro-teen bound) belongs to the group of medicines called antineoplastics. It is used to treat cancer of the breast after other treatments have failed.

Paclitaxel interferes with the growth of cancer cells, which are eventually destroyed. Since the growth of normal body cells may also be affected by paclitaxel protein bound, other effects will also occur. Some of these may be serious and must be reported to your doctor. Other effects may not be serious but may cause concern. Some effects may not occur until months or years after the medicine is used.

Before you begin treatment with paclitaxel protein-bound, you and your doctor should talk about the good this medicine will do as well as the risks of using it.

Paclitaxel protein-bound is to be administered only by or under the immediate supervision of your doctor. It is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Parenteral
  • Injection (U.S.)

Before Using This Medicine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For paclitaxel protein-bound particles, the following should be considered:

Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to paclitaxel protein-bound. Also tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to any other substances, such as human albumin, foods, preservatives, or dyes.

Pregnancy—Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or if you intend to become pregnant. Studies in rats and rabbits have shown that paclitaxel causes miscarriages and deaths of the fetus, as well as problems in the mother. Be sure you have discussed this with your doctor before taking this medicine. It is best to use some kind of birth control while you are receiving paclitaxel protein-bound.

Breast-feeding—It is not known whether paclitaxel protein-bound passes into breast milk. However, because this medicine may cause serious side effects, breast-feeding is generally not recommended while you are receiving it.

Children—There is no specific information comparing use of paclitaxel protein-bound in children with use in other age groups.

Older adults—This medicine has been tested in a limited number of patients and has not been shown to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.

Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of paclitaxel protein-bound particles. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Infection—Paclitaxel may decrease your body"s ability to fight infection.
  • Kidney problems or
  • Liver problems
  • Neuropathy, grade 3—May require a break in treatment or a decrease in the dose

Proper Use of This Medicine

Dosing—The dose of paclitaxel protein-bound will be different for different patients. The dose that is used may depend on a number of things, including the patient"s size, and whether or not other medicines are also being taken. If you are receiving paclitaxel protein-bound at home, follow your doctor"s orders or the directions on the label . If you have any questions about the proper dose of paclitaxel protein-bound, ask your doctor.

  • For parental dosage form:
    • For advanced breast cancer
      • Adults—260 milligrams per m2 of body surface area, injected into the vein over 30 minutes once every 3 weeks.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.

Men receiving paclitaxel protein-bound should not father a child.

Paclitaxel can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells in your blood, increasing the chance of getting an infection. It can also lower the number of platelets, which are necessary for proper blood clotting. If this occurs, there are certain precautions you can take, especially when your blood count is low, to reduce the risk of infection or bleeding:

  • If you can, avoid people with infections. Check with your doctor immediately if you think you are getting an infection or if you get a fever or chills, cough or hoarseness, lower back or side pain, or painful or difficult urination.
  • Check with your doctor immediately if you notice any unusual bleeding or bruising; black, tarry stools; blood in urine or stools; or pinpoint red spots on your skin.
  • Be careful when using a regular toothbrush, dental floss, or toothpick. Your medical doctor, dentist, or nurse may recommend other ways to clean your teeth and gums. Check with your medical doctor before having any dental work done.
  • Do not touch your eyes or the inside of your nose unless you have just washed your hands and have not touched anything else in the meantime.
  • Be careful not to cut yourself when you are using sharp objects such as a safety razor or fingernail or toenail cutters.
  • Avoid contact sports or other situations where bruising or injury could occur.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Also, because of the way these medicines act on the body, there is a chance that they might cause other unwanted effects that may not occur until months or years after the medicine is used. These may include certain types of cancer, such as leukemia or bladder cancer. Discuss these possible effects with your doctor.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

Black, tarry stools; blurred or double vision; chest pain; chills; cough; fever; loss of taste; lower back or side pain; painful or difficult urination; pale skin; shortness of breath; sneezing; sore mouth or tongue; sore throat; troubled breathing with exertion; tightness in chest; ulcers, sores, or white spots in mouth; unusual bleeding or bruising; unusual tiredness or weakness; wheezing; white patches in mouth and/or on tongue

Less common

Abnormal electrocardiogram (ECG); anxiety; bleeding; bleeding gums; blood in urine or stools; burning, tingling, numbness or pain in the hands, arms, feet, or legs; confusion; difficulty breathing; difficulty in swallowing; dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position suddenly; dizziness or lightheadedness; fainting; fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse; no blood pressure or pulse; pain in chest, groin, or legs, especially the calves; painful or difficult urination; palpitations; pinpoint red spots on skin; sensation of pins and needles; severe, sudden headache; slow or irregular heartbeat; slurred speech; stabbing pain; skin itching, rash, or redness; stopping of heart; sudden loss of coordination; sudden, severe weakness or numbness in arm or leg; sudden, unexplained shortness of breath; sweating; swelling of face, throat, or tongue; tenderness, pain, swelling, warmth, skin discoloration, and prominent superficial veins over affected area; unconsciousness; vision changes


Difficulty in speaking; headache; inability to move arms, legs, or facial muscles; inability to speak; numbness or tingling in face, arms or legs; severe pain in chest; slow speech; sudden onset of severe breathing difficulty; trouble speaking, thinking or walking

Symptoms of Overdose

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur

Blurred or double vision; chest pain; chills; cough or hoarseness; cracked lips; diarrhea; difficulty in swallowing; fever; loss of taste; lower back or side pain; painful or difficult urination; shortness of breath; sores, ulcers, or white spots on lips, tongue, or inside mouth; swollen glands; unusual bleeding or bruising; unusual tiredness or weakness

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome.

More Common

Cracked lips; diarrhea; difficulty in moving; difficulty in swallowing; lack or loss of strength; loss of hair; muscle pain or stiffness; nausea; pain in joints; swelling; vomiting

Less common

Bleeding, blistering, burning, coldness, discoloration of skin, feeling of pressure, hives, infection, inflammation, itching, lumps, numbness, pain, rash, redness, scarring, soreness, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tingling, ulceration, or warmth at site of injection


Nail changes

Observed during clinical trials

Disturbed color perception; halos around lights; loss of vision; night blindness; overbright appearance of lights; tunnel vision

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

Developed: 10/24/2005

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Typical mistypes for Abraxane
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