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Immunotherapy Monoclonal Antibody

Brand names:


Often used for:

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)

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What is Blinatumomab?

Blinatumomab is a type of immunotherapy called a bispecific T-cell engager (BITE) monoclonal antibody. This medicine works by causing T cells to target a protein called CD19 found on some types of leukemia cells. Blinatumomab is considered a targeted therapy because the medicine is specific to certain cell features and “targets” those cells.

A serious condition called cytokine release syndrome (CRS) can occur while taking this drug. This usually occurs within the first few days of receiving the medicine, and patients will be monitored closely during this time.

Patients will have regular blood draws to check blood counts and monitor liver function.

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Given as a liquid into a vein by IV

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Possible Side Effects

  • Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills)
  • Headache
  • Weight gain
  • Swelling of arms or legs
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Back or abdominal pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Rash
  • Low blood counts (may cause increased risk of infection, bleeding, anemia and/or fatigue)
  • Liver problems
  • Pancreas problems
  • Central nervous system reaction: Symptoms may include headache, confusion, seizures, slurred speech or trouble speaking, loss of balance, and fainting
  • Cytokine release syndrome: Symptoms may include fever, chills, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, confusion, feeling very weak or tired, muscle or join pain, swelling of the face, rash, seizures, diarrhea, vomiting

Not all patients who take blinatumomab will experience these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Please report all suspected side effects to your doctor or pharmacist.

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Tips for Families

Be sure to discuss these and other recommendations with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Blinatumomab is given as a continuous infusion by CADD pump over 24 - 48 hours for a total of 28 days per cycle. Before leaving the hospital, families will be taught how to care for the infusion pump at home.
  • Do not flush the line where blinatumomab is infusing, especially when changing infusion bags or at the completion of the infusion.
  • Corticosteroids (such as dexamethasone) may be used to help prevent cytokine release syndrome and/or manage central nervous system effects.
  • Blinatumomab may cause drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, and seizures. Patients should not drive or do anything that could be dangerous while receiving the infusion.
  • Patients may be given diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), acetaminophen (Tylenol®), or other medicines to help prevent flu-like symptoms.
  • Sexually active patients should take steps to prevent pregnancy during treatment and for 48 hours after the last dose.
  • Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Blinatumomab resources