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Erbitux Dosing for Colorectal Cancer

The standard dosage of Erbitux for the treatment of colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum) is based on body surface area, which is normally calculated using height and weight. Dosing that is based on body surface area is expressed as milligrams per meter squared, or mg per m2.
The specific recommended dosage of Erbitux is 400 mg per m2 for the first week, followed by 250 mg per m2 each week thereafter. Treatment will continue until the cancer no longer appears to be responding or until potentially serious side effects occur.
Whether you receive Erbitux for head and neck or colorectal cancer, your healthcare provider will likely give you a medication known as an antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), 30 to 60 minutes before your first injection. This is to help reduce that chance that you will have an allergic reaction (also called an infusion reaction). If you have such a reaction, you may also be given an antihistamine prior to each subsequent weekly dose.
In addition, you will be monitored closely for signs of a reaction during each Erbitux dosage and after your infusion is complete. Let your healthcare provider know if you experience any symptoms of an infusion reaction, such as:
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Skin rash, redness, or swelling
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension), which could cause dizziness or fainting
  • Swelling of the mouth, tongue, face, lips, or throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Shaking
  • Sweating.

General Information on Receiving Erbitux

Some considerations to keep in mind during treatment with Erbitux include the following:
  • This medication comes as a liquid (solution) that is given as a slow injection into a vein (an intravenous or IV infusion). It is usually given once a week.
  • The injections are given by a healthcare provider in a healthcare setting. It will take one to two hours to receive your dosage. You will then be watched carefully for at least an hour to make sure you do not have a serious reaction to the medicine.
  • The product should not be used if it is discolored, cloudy, or contains unknown particles.
  • Your healthcare provider may recommend you take medication before your Erbitux dosage to help prevent possible allergic reactions to the infusion.
  • For this drug to work properly, it must be used as prescribed. Erbitux will not work as well if you miss doses.
  • If you are unsure about anything related to your dosage or Erbitux dosing in general, please talk with your healthcare provider, nurse, or pharmacist.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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