How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Basiliximab belongs to the group of medications known as immunosuppressants. It is used to prevent the rejection of a transplanted kidney during the first 4 to 6 weeks after the transplant. It is used along with other immunosuppressants such as cyclosporine and prednisone. Basiliximab works by attaching to certain types of white blood cells that play a role in transplant rejection.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Each glass vial contains 20 mg of basiliximab. Nonmedicinal ingredients: disodium hydrogen phosphate, glycine, mannitol, potassium dihydrogen phosphate, sodium chloride and sucrose. This medication does not contain preservatives.

How should I use this medication?

The dose of basiliximab is 20 mg and is given as an injection or infusion into a vein.

Normally, you will be given two doses of basiliximab. The first dose is given just before your transplant operation starts, and the second dose is given 4 days after the operation. A doctor or nurse will give the treatment, since it has to be injected into a vein.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications.

Basiliximab should be stored in the refrigerator at 2°C to 8°C.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not use basiliximab if you are allergic to basiliximab, mouse cell proteins, or to any of the ingredients of the medication.

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • fast heart beat
  • fever
  • flu-like symptoms
  • headache
  • nausea
  • pain
  • rash, itching, or hives on the skin
  • sneezing
  • swelling of hands, ankles or feet
  • weight increase

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • delayed healing of the surgical wound
  • high blood pressure
  • severely decreased urination
  • symptomsof anemia (e.g., shortness of breath, paleness, fast heart rate)
  • symptoms of an infection (e.g., fever, chills, cough, difficult or painful urination)

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • allergic reaction (e.g., swelling of the face, lips, tongue, wheezing or trouble breathing)

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Allergic and infusion reactions: This medication can cause allergic reactions and side effects that are related to receiving the infusion. Some of these reactions can be severe. If you experience shortness of breath, wheezing, fever, chills, lightheadedness, hoarseness, difficulty speaking, fainting, hives, or swelling of the face and throat while receiving this medication, tell your doctor or nurse immediately or get immediate medical attention.

If you experience a severe infusion reaction, you should not receive this medication again.

Vaccines: People receiving basiliximab may not respond as well to vaccines or may be at risk of becoming ill from a live vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you need any vaccinations while taking this medication.

Pregnancy: Basiliximab should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. Women who are receiving this medication should use adequate contraception during treatment and for 4 months following the last dose. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if basiliximab passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding. Women taking this medication should not breast-feed during treatment and for 4 months after the last dose.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between basiliximab and any of the following:

  • BCG vaccine
  • belimumab
  • denosumab
  • echinacea
  • fingolimod
  • leflunomide
  • live vaccines (e.g., chickenpox vaccine, measles, mumps rubella)
  • natalizumab
  • pimecrolimus
  • roflumilast
  • tacrolimus
  • tofactitinib
  • trastuzumab

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

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