Multiple myeloma is a relatively rare cancer, accounting for less than 0.76 percent of all cancer cases in the United States. It is more frequent in adults over the age of 65, and males are somewhat more affected than women.
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Darzalex (daratumumab) is one of the most effective medications for multiple myeloma. This medication has been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of multiple myeloma.
The usage, mode of action, dosage, and adverse effects of Darzalex are all examined in this article. Additionally, you will discover a cost-effective way to obtain this drug.
What Is Darzalex?
Darzalex is a prescription medication used to treat certain types of cancer, specifically multiple myeloma.
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells. It causes the plasma cells to grow and divide uncontrollably, producing abnormal proteins that can harm the kidneys and other organs.
Darzalex was first approved by the FDA in November 2015 for treating multiple myeloma in people who have received at least three prior lines of therapy, including a proteasome inhibitor and an immunomodulatory agent, or who are double-refractory to a proteasome inhibitor and an immunomodulatory agent.
What Is Darzalex Used For?
Darzalex is used in conjunction with other drugs to treat multiple myeloma in patients who have had at least one prior therapy and have not responded or relapsed following that treatment. It is, therefore, utilized as a second-line or later therapeutic option for patients. It is also used as an initial therapy with other drugs for persons with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma who are not candidates for a stem cell transplant.
Only a healthcare professional with knowledge of the treatment of multiple myeloma should direct and supervise the administration of Darzalex. The decision to use Darzalex, or any other medication, for the treatment of multiple myeloma will depend on various factors, including the stage and severity of cancer, the person’s overall health, and any other medical conditions they may have.
How Is Darzalex Used?
Darzalex is usually given in combination with other medications and is administered intravenously (into a vein) by a healthcare professional. It is critical to adhere to your doctor’s dosage recommendations and to communicate any adverse effects or worries you may have while taking this medicine.
Darzalex is administered via intravenous (IV) infusion in a healthcare setting, such as a hospital or clinic. The dosage and administration schedule depends on the patient’s body weight and the stage of multiple myeloma.
Darzalex is often administered in conjunction with other medications such as bortezomib, lenalidomide, or dexamethasone as part of induction treatment for persons with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma who are eligible for autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT).
It can be given to people with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma alone or in combination with other medications such as dexamethasone, pomalidomide, or bortezomib.
Darzalex dose is determined by the patient’s body weight and stage of multiple myeloma. It is prescribed at a dose of 16 mg per kg of body weight.
The medication is administered as a weekly infusion for the first 8 weeks, then every 2 weeks for the next 16 weeks, and finally every 4 weeks until disease progression.
It is important to follow the dosage and administration schedule prescribed by the healthcare provider to achieve the maximum benefit of Darzalex therapy.
How Does It Work?
Darzalex targets CD38, a protein present on the surface of multiple myeloma cells. CD38 participates in a variety of physiological activities, including cell signaling, calcium control, and immunological function.
Darzalex can stimulate immune cells such as natural killer cells, macrophages, and neutrophils to attack and destroy cancer cells when it attaches to CD38 on the surface of a multiple myeloma cell. This is called antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC).
Darzalex can also inhibit cancer cells by triggering a process known as complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC). This process includes turning on the complement system, a collection of blood proteins that may destroy cells by assembling a membrane assault complex on their surface.
The enzymatic activity of CD38 can also be inhibited by Darzalex. By restricting its function, it can obstruct the development and survival of multiple myeloma cells, ultimately causing their destruction.
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Like all medications, Darzalex can cause side effects. Some of the common side effects of Darzalex include:
- Upper respiratory tract infection
- Peripheral edema
- Back pain
- Muscle spasms
Although uncommon, Darzalex may also cause some serious health problems, such as:
- Hematologic toxicity
- Hepatitis B virus reactivation
- Tumor lysis syndrome
If you encounter any adverse effects while taking Darzalex, please tell your healthcare professional. They may adjust the dosage or change the treatment regimen to minimize side effects.
The following are safety precautions to consider before and after beginning treatment with Darzalex.
- Inform the healthcare provider of any medical conditions, medications, vitamins, or supplements you are taking.
- Be aware of the risk of infections.
- Watch for infusion-related reactions.
- Screen for hepatitis B virus before starting treatment.
- Avoid use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Inform the healthcare provider of other medical conditions, such as a history of allergic reactions, heart or lung problems, or blood clotting disorders.
Depending on the pharmacy you go to, the typical retail cost of a 5 ml vial of Darzalex intravenous solution (20 mg/mL) is roughly $714. Darzalex’s real cost, nevertheless, can be considerably reduced with insurance coverage or via patient assistance programs made available by the manufacturer. You can also contact us to get copay or financial assistance with your medication.
This information is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about your medical condition prior to starting any new treatment. AmeriPharma Specialty Care assumes no liability whatsoever for the information provided or for any diagnosis or treatment made as a result, nor is it responsible for the reliability of the content.
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Dr. Martina Mikail, PharmD was born in Egypt and raised in Pennsylvania and California. She graduated from Marshall B. Ketchum University in May 2022. Dr. Mikail is a recipent of the USPS Leadership Award and the CSHP Leadership Award, and is an active member of CSHP, ASHP, and APhA. The most rewarding part of her job is educating patients and counseling them on medications. In her free time, she likes to cook, spend time with family, and read.