Abraxane is a medicine that is prescribed for the treatment of breast cancer, lung cancer, and pancreatic cancer. It is a new form of paclitaxel that is protein-bound, which makes it less irritating, easier to dissolve, and quicker to inject. Since Abraxane is given through an IV, it is administered at a healthcare provider's office, at a hospital, or at an "infusion center." Possible side effects include hair loss, nerve pain or unusual sensations, and weakness.
The medication is currently made by Abraxis BioScience, Inc., a subsidiary of Celgene Corporation.
How Does It Work?
Abraxane is part of a group of medications called taxanes. Taxanes stop cancer cells from growing and multiplying by interfering with certain structures in the cell.
While Abraxane can kill both healthy and cancerous cells, it has a greater effect on cells that are multiplying rapidly. Generally, cancer cells multiply more rapidly than healthy cells and are, therefore, more affected by Abraxane.
Abraxane is a new form of paclitaxel. Paclitaxel does not dissolve well and requires solvents in order to be dissolved and injected. These solvents can cause irritation and allergic reactions. Abraxane is a new form of paclitaxel that is bound to albumin (a protein normally found in the body). Paclitaxel that is bound to albumin dissolves more easily, and solvents are not needed, making Abraxane much less irritating (and can be injected more quickly) than solvent-based paclitaxel.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed March 25, 2013.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
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