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ABT 414 (Abbvie)

This leaflet provides information on ABT 414 (Abbvie) treatment. It will explain what this is, when and how it is given.  It will also tell you about possible side effects.  Contact telephone numbers and details of how to obtain further information on ABT 414 are given at the end of the leaflet.

This leaflet should be read alongside the ‘General information for patients receiving chemotherapy’ folder.  If you haven’t received this folder please ask your nurse for one. 

What is ABT 414 ( Abbvie) ?

This is a chemotherapy together with a targeted therapy. It is currently used as a trial drug, but it can be used for other patients that are not part of the trial, as selected by your cancer doctor. It has not yet received a licence for use. However, it has undergone clinical trials to ensure it is safe to give to patients. It’s full name is Depatuxizumab Mafodatin. 

How does ABT 414 work? 

It is a chemotherapy which is attached to a targeted therapy. The targeted therapy attaches to the surface of the cancer cells, which over-express epidermal growth factor which then allows the treatment to enter these cancer cells, which cause them to die. Therefore it targets mainly the cancer cells rather than other cells. 

Why am I having ABT 414?

Your doctor has prescribed this treatment because it has been found to be effective in treating Glioblastoma. It is more effective in patients who have an over-expression of epidermal growth factor receptor 3. 

How often will I receive my ABT 414?

For this treatment to be most effective it is given at specific time intervals.  These are known as cycles.  It is usual to have a cycle of ABT 414 every 2 weeks. Your cancer doctor will continue with this treatment whilst it is effective and it is not causing severe side effects. 

How often will I see the specialist team?

You will see the specialist team regularly. You will have regular blood tests and we will check how you are feeling and discuss any problems you may have.  This is so we can check how the treatment is affecting you.  If your blood results are satisfactory, your treatment will be prescribed.

How long will I be in the hospital?

Your treatment will usually be on a different day to your clinic appointment.  The treatment takes about 2 hours. It is given over 30 minutes, but you have an observation period of 1 hour after. Please allow an extra 30 minutes for your first treatment.

Can I bring relatives and friends with me? 

Can I bring relatives and friends with me?

You are welcome to bring someone to stay with you during your treatment. Space is limited so there is not usually room for more than one person.  Treatment areas are not suitable for young children.

How will my treatment be given?

ABT 414 is given through a drip into a vein in the back of your hand or arm. Sometimes, if we have problems putting a needle in, we may suggest that a fine tube called a PICC is inserted into a large vein in your upper arm. This will remain in place throughout your treatment. Your doctor or nurse will discuss this with you and give you a leaflet, if required.

What are the possible side effects?

There are a number of possible side effects which can occur. The doctor, nurses and pharmacists can give you advice or answer any questions you may have.

Eye problems: 

The most common side effect is problems with your eyes. You will be given Prednisolone eye drops to start before starting the treatment. You use 1-2 drops in each eye every 8 hours (3 x /day) for 9 days starting 2 days before each infusion every 2 weeks. 

The eye drops can help prevent or reduce the side effects of the following :  blurred vision, dry eyes, swelling of the eye tissue, eye pain, itchy eyes , sensitivity to light, watery eyes , inflamed eye or a feeling you have something in your eye. If you experience any of these symptoms inform your cancer doctor or the nurses treating you in the clinic. 

Tiredness and fatigue 

You may feel more tired than usual.  It is important to listen to your body and rest if you need to, but carry out your normal activities if you feel able.  Some people find it beneficial to take gentle exercise as well as rest.

Nausea and sickness

This can cause nausea or /and vomiting, but we can give you anti-sickness medicines which are usually effective. However, if you are sick more than once in 24 hours despite taking regular anti-sickness medicine contact Velindre Cancer Centre. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.  

Loss of appetite: 

Sometimes patients experience lack of appetite with this treatment. Try to eat small, regular meals and flavour your food well. 


You are at an increased risk of picking up infections because your white blood cells which help fight infections can be reduced by this treatment.  

If you develop an infection whilst your white blood cells are low, you are at risk of sepsis, this can be life threatening. 

Contact Velindre Cancer Centre immediately if you develop any signs of infection, for example flu like symptoms or a temperature above 37.5°centigrade or if your temperature is below 35.5°.  The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.


If you experience constipation it is important that you increase the amount of fluids you drink.  You may need laxatives. You can speak to us or your GP for advice. 

Risk of bleeding/low platelets /bruising

ABT 414 may reduce the production of platelets (which help the blood to clot).  This will increase your risk of bruising or bleeding.  If you notice any excessive bruising on your body or bleeding such as nosebleeds or bleeding from your gums you should contact Velindre Cancer Centre for advice.  The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet. 


You may develop a rash.  Usually this can be treated easily with some non perfumed cream or lotion. However, if this rash is severe, for example: it is widespread and itchy, contact Velindre Cancer Centre for advice. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet. 

Liver function 

ABT 414 can cause an alteration in liver function – your bloods will be monitored for this in clinic for this. 

Allergic type reaction

A small number of patients experience an allergic type reaction.  If this occurs you may feel hot or flushed, itchy, light-headed or generally unwell whilst receiving your ABT 414 . This can be easily treated.  Please tell your nurse immediately if you experience any of the above symptoms.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

It is important that you do not become pregnant or father a child during your course of treatment, or for at least six months after treatment.  This is because treatment can harm an unborn child. You need to use a barrier contraception such as a condom in addition to other birth control, such as a contraceptive pill. 

Breastfeeding during treatment is not advised as the drugs could be passed to a baby through breast milk.

Sometimes cancer drugs can have very serious side effects which rarely can be life threatening. It is important to inform Velindre cancer centre if you are concerned about any side-effects

A diagnosis of cancer can increase your risk of developing a blood clot (thrombosis), and having cancer treatment may increase this risk further.  It is important to tell your doctor immediately if you have symptoms such as pain, redness and swelling in your leg, or breathlessness and chest pain.  

Blood clots can be very serious.  However, most clots can usually be successfully treated with drugs to thin the blood.  Your doctor or nurse can give you more information

Other medication

It is important to discuss with your cancer doctor/team before you start any new medication. 

It is not recommended to take over the counter medication, herbal remedies or vitamin supplements with this treatment. 

Manufacturer’s patient information leaflets

Velindre leaflets provide information about very common and commonly reported side-effects (we are unable to list all of the common side effects), for more information regarding these and the less common side-effects please refer your cancer doctor. Unfortunately there is no information on the internet at because this treatment hasn’t yet got a licence. If needed your cancer doctor can contact the company for more information. 

Contact telephone numbers

Velindre Cancer Centre 029 2061 5888

Ask for the treatment helpline if you are unwell at home and need immediate advice at any time of the day or night.  For example you should phone if you:

  • Are sick more than once in 24 hours
  • Have a temperature of 37.5°C or above or below 35.5°C 
  • Have diarrhoea

Pharmacy department 029 2061 5888 ext 6223

Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm for queries about your medicines

Macmillan freephone Helpline     0808 808 0000

Tenovus freephone 0808 808 1010

cancer helpline 


This information is also available in Welsh

This leaflet was written by health professionals. The information is evidence based and has been approved by doctors, nurses and patients.  It is reviewed and updated every 2 years.

Prepared October 2018