Erbitux can be given alone or in combination with other drugs to treat advanced colorectal cancer as well as squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. It is given by infusion into a vein over a period of one to two hours. Side effects are possible and will likely include injection site reactions, fatigue, and diarrhea.
What Is Erbitux?Erbitux® (cetuximab) is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of certain types of cancer. Specifically, the medication is used to treat certain people who have:
- Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck
- Advanced colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum) that expresses a protein called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR).
Erbitux can be used alone or in combination with other treatments.
Who Makes This Medication?Erbitux is manufactured by ImClone LLC and co-marketed by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and Eli Lilly and Company.
How Does Erbitux Work?
Erbitux works by binding to a receptor in the body called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). EGFR is found in normal skin cells. It is also found in head and neck, colon, and rectum cancer cells.
Normally, certain proteins, such as epidermal growth factor, bind to EGFR and tell cells to grow. By binding to EGFR, Erbitux blocks these proteins from binding, which slows the growth of cancer cells. This medication does not cure cancer, however.