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 eribulin 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 a copy.
Eribulin is a chemotherapy that is given in a drip.
Your doctor has prescribed this chemotherapy because it has been found to be effective in treating your type of cancer.
For this treatment to be most effective it is given at specific time intervals. These are known as cycles. Each cycle involves giving chemotherapy on day 1 and day 8 of the cycle. One cycle lasts 3 weeks. Your doctor will discuss the exact number of cycles you will receive.
You will see the specialist team before each cycle. 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 chemotherapy is affecting you. If your blood results are satisfactory, your chemotherapy will be prescribed.
Your treatment will usually be on a different day to your clinic appointment. The chemotherapy treatment takes about 30 minutes. Please allow an extra 30 minutes for your first treatment.
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.
Eribulin is given through a drip into a vein in the back of your hand or arm. Alternatively 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. If required, your doctor or nurse will discuss this with you.
We have a leaflet that tells you more about PICC lines, if required.
There are a number of possible side effects which can occur. The doctor, nurses and pharmacy team can give you advice or answer any questions you may have.
Nausea and vomiting are uncommon these days as we give you anti-sickness medicines which are usually extremely effective. 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.
You may experience hair thinning or hair loss with this chemotherapy. This is temporary and your hair will grow back when you finish your chemotherapy. We can arrange a wig if you would like one, please ask your nurse for more information. In addition we can give you a leaflet on coping with hair loss.
Eribulin 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 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.
Eribulin may sometimes damage the nerves of your hands and feet. If you experience some numbness or changes in sensation such as tingling or pins and needles, it is important that you tell your doctor if this happens so that we can modify your treatment before this side effect becomes permanent.
Some patients may experience myalgia which is muscle or joint pain. This can sometimes be severe but will only last for a few days. If you already have painkillers at home you may find they relieve the pain. If this does not work please contact Velindre Cancer Centre. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.
Your mouth may become sore or you may notice small ulcers. Please follow the advice on caring for your mouth in the general chemotherapy leaflet. Your doctor may prescribe mouthwashes or medication to prevent or clear any infection.
Sometimes patients experience a dry mouth, which you can manage by avoiding dry foods, for example, adding sauces and gravy to food.
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.
This treatment has been known to cause either constipation or diarrhoea.
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.
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.
Very rarely some people having eribulin may experience breathing problems. If you notice shortness of breath, cough or any breathing problems, please contact your doctor or specialist nurse. You will also be monitored at regular clinic visits.
Some people may experience problems with headaches. Try taking the painkillers you would normally take for a headache. If you find that painkillers do not help or you have any problems with your vision or experience dizziness, please inform the chemotherapy pager, see telephone number at the end of the leaflet, and also tell your doctor or nurse in clinic.
If you have a heart condition or you take any heart medication please tell your doctor before you start treatment, as Eribulin may affect your heart.
Some patients experience indigestion and/or upper abdominal pain or wind. If this causes you problems, ring Velindre Cancer Centre, and inform when next in clinic.
You may experience discolouration and ridging of your finger and toenails.
If you notice your eyes are red and sore, this may be due to an infection: see your GP who can prescribe medication if required.
It is important you do not become pregnant or father a child whilst having chemotherapy treatment as chemotherapy could damage the unborn baby. It is not recommended to breast feed whilst receiving Eribulin.
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.
If you are taking other medicines please let your doctor, nurse or pharmacist know.
There are many medicines that you may have to avoid, please discuss your medicines with your doctor and do not take over-the-counter medications without advice.
NB: There may be serious interactions with certain medications.
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 to the manufacturers patient information leaflets, obtained from Velindre pharmacy and/or on the internet at www.medicines.org.uk. Sometimes patients may find these leaflets difficult to read however. Please ask if you would like a copy from your doctor or from Velindre pharmacy
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
• 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
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.