The U.S. FDA and drug manufacturer Biogen Idec have issued a drug safety alert advising physicians that Zevalin can be associated with severe cutaneous or mucocutaneous reactions, some of which have been fatal. The Zevalin therapeutic regimen combines the anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies Zevalin and Rituxan with indium-111- and yttrium-90 labeled radioisotopes. The regimen is indicated for the treatment of patients with specific types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Rituximab is an essential component of the Zevalin therapeutic regimen. Deaths have occurred within 24 hours of rituximab infusion and approximately 80% of fatal infusion reactions occurred in association with the first rituximab infusion. The fatalities were associated with, "an infusion reaction symptom complex that included hypoxia, pulmonary infiltrates, acute respiratory distress syndrome, myocardial infarction, ventricular fibrillation, or cardiogenic shock."
Other reported side effects of Zevalin include erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, bullous dermatitis, and exfoliative dermatitis.
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