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Indication: Polivy is a type of medication that targets a protein called CD79b, and it’s combined with other drugs like rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and prednisone (known as R-CHP). This combination is used to treat adults with a specific type of cancer called diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) or high-grade B-cell lymphoma (HGBL) who haven’t been treated before and have certain risk factors. It’s given to patients who have a score of 2 or more on something called the International Prognostic Index. This therapeutic drug is also used in combination with bendamustine and rituximab to treat adults with a certain type of cancer called diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), who have relapsed or haven’t responded to at least two previous treatments.

Potential Side Effects:

  • The most frequent side effects (experienced by 20% or more of patients) when using Polivy alongside R-CHP to treat large B-cell lymphoma, apart from changes in lab results, include peripheral neuropathy, nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, hair loss, and mouth sores.
  • The most frequent side effects, affecting more than 20% of patients with relapsed or refractory DLBCL treated with Polivy alongside BR, include anemia, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, fatigue, peripheral neuropathy, decreased appetite, diarrhea, pyrexia, and pneumonia.

Important Safety Information:

Peripheral Neuropathy: Polivy can lead to serious peripheral neuropathy, which affects the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. This can start early, even after the first cycle of treatment, and it gets worse over time. If you already have peripheral neuropathy before taking Polivy, it could make it worse. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include sensations like numbness, tingling, burning, or weakness in your hands or feet. It can also affect your ability to walk normally. If you notice any of these symptoms getting worse or new ones appearing, tell your doctor right away. It’s important to keep an eye on how you’re feeling and communicate with your healthcare team about any changes.

Infusion-Related Reactions: Polivy may lead to serious infusion reactions, which can even occur up to 24 hours after receiving the medication. Symptoms like chills, difficulty breathing, fever, itching, rash, and chest discomfort have been reported in at least 1% of patients. To help prevent these reactions, doctors often give patients antihistamines and fever-reducing medications before giving Polivy. It’s important for healthcare providers to closely monitor patients during the infusion. If a reaction happens, they will pause the infusion and provide the necessary medical care.

Myelosuppression: Polivy treatment can lead to serious blood cell issues like low neutrophils, platelets, and red blood cells. Regular blood tests are required to monitor this. If levels drop too low, treatment may need to be adjusted or stopped. Patients receiving Polivy plus certain chemotherapy combinations may require additional medications to prevent low neutrophil levels.

Serious and Opportunistic Infections: Patients treated with Polivy may experience severe or fatal infections, including opportunistic ones like sepsis, pneumonia (including fungal pneumonia-like Pneumocystis jiroveci), herpesvirus, and cytomegalovirus infections. It’s crucial to closely watch patients for signs of infection during treatment. Doctors may prescribe preventive measures such as medication for Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia and herpesvirus, as well as G-CSF to prevent neutropenia.

Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML): After using Polivy along with bendamustine and obinutuzumab for treatment, cases of a rare brain infection called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) have been reported. Watch out for any new or worsening changes in your thinking, behavior, or neurological functions. If PML is suspected, stop taking Polivy and any other chemotherapy drugs immediately, and if confirmed, Polivy should be stopped permanently.

Tumor Lysis Syndrome: Polivy can lead to a condition called tumor lysis syndrome, especially in patients with a lot of cancer cells or tumors that grow quickly. It’s crucial to keep a close eye on patients and take steps to prevent tumor lysis syndrome. This might include giving medications to prevent it from happening.

Hepatotoxicity: Some patients treated with Polivy have experienced severe liver problems, such as liver cell damage, with increased levels of liver enzymes and bilirubin. People with existing liver issues, high baseline liver enzyme levels, or those taking certain medications alongside Polivy may have a higher risk of liver problems. Regular monitoring of liver enzymes and bilirubin levels is important to catch any potential issues early.

Embryo-Fetal Toxicity: Polivy can be harmful to unborn babies if taken by pregnant women. Women who could become pregnant should use reliable birth control while using Polivy and for 3 months after stopping treatment. Men using Polivy should also use effective birth control if their partners could become pregnant, for up to 5 months after their last dose. This helps prevent pregnancy and potential harm to the baby.

Conclusion: Polivy is a medication used to treat certain types of lymphoma. While it can be effective, it also carries risks of serious side effects. It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions closely, report any symptoms promptly, and attend all recommended check-ups and blood tests to ensure your safety during treatment. If you have any concerns or experience any side effects, contact your healthcare provider immediately.


Nitin Goswami

Nitin Goswami joined us as an Editor in 2020. He covers all the updates in the field of Pharmaceutical, Business Healthcare, Health News, Medical News, and Pharma News.

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