EffectsIn one study, Avastin was added to a chemotherapy regimen of irinotecan, 5-fluorouracil, and leucovorin (this regimen is known as IFL) for treating colon or rectal cancer. People taking just IFL chemotherapy lived an average of 15.6 months, while those who took Avastin with IFL chemotherapy lived longer (20.3 months, on average). In other studies, the drug was shown to be effective for treating colon or rectal cancer when used in combination with FOLFOX4 chemotherapy (5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, and oxaliplatin) or 5-FU/LV chemotherapy (5-fluorouracil and leucovorin).
Avastin has also been studied as a treatment for non-squamous, non-small cell lung cancer. People who took the drug in combination with a chemotherapy regimen of paclitaxel and carboplatin survived longer (and had more time before their cancer became worse), compared to people who took paclitaxel and carboplatin without Avastin.
When and How to Take AvastinGeneral considerations for when and how to take it include the following:
- The medication is given by IV, usually at a hospital or cancer clinic. It is given every two or three weeks, depending on the type of cancer.
- Your first dose of Avastin should be given slowly, over 90 minutes. If you tolerate it well, your next dose can be given over 60 minutes. If you tolerate that dose well, your next dose (and any future doses) can be given over 30 minutes.
- The medication should be stopped several weeks before major surgery and should not be restarted until at least 28 days after surgery and until the surgical wound has fully healed.
- You can take your Avastin infusion with or without food. However, your healthcare provider may have a preference in this matter for other reasons, so be sure to ask your healthcare provider if your stomach should be empty or full when taking the drug.
- For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Avastin will not work if you stop taking it.