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Bavencio® (avelumab) for advanced kidney cancer

Pronunciation: “a VEL ue mab”

Bavencio is a type of immunotherapy called an immune-checkpoint inhibitor. Immune-checkpoints allow our immune system to have control over which cells to attack and not attack. To keep the immune system from attacking our own cells, the immune system will engage “molecular brakes” called immune checkpoints. Cancer cells, such as kidney cancer cells, can take advantage of these “molecular breaks,” turning them on or off, so that they can hide from the immune system. Immune checkpoint inhibitors are drugs designed to release these breaks, so that the immune system can be activated against cancer cells.

Bavencio in combination with the oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor, Inlyta (axitinib), is approved for the treatment of advanced kidney cancer.

Dosage (Adult): 800 mg intravenously once every 2 weeks (in combination with Inlyta)

Dietary restrictions:  None

What to tell your healthcare provider BEFORE treatment:

  • If you have immune system problems, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • If you are on steroids to treat a health condition
  • If you have had an organ transplant
  • If you have lung or breathing problems
  • If you have liver or kidney problems
  • If you have diabetes
  • If you have heart problems or high blood pressure
  • If you have a high cholesterol level in your blood
  • If you are pregnant or may be pregnant. This drug may cause harm to an unborn baby. Women must use birth control while taking this drug and for some time after the last dose. Ask your doctor how long to use birth control. If you get pregnant, call your doctor right away.
  • If you are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take this drug or for 1 month after you stop this drug.

Bavencio may interact with other drugs:

  • Tell all of your healthcare providers that you are being treated with Bavencio and Inyta. This includes your doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists and dentists.
  • Inform your healthcare provider of all the medications you take including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
  • Keep a current list of the medications you are taking to show your healthcare provider and pharmacist.
  • Inform your healthcare provider and pharmacist as soon as you are prescribed a new medication.

Bavencio in combination with Inlyta can cause side effects.

Common side effects include:

  • diarrhea
  • feeling tired
  • high blood pressure
  • muscle and bone pain
  • nausea
  • mouth sores
  • liver problems
  • blisters or rash on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet
  • hoarseness
  • decreased appetite
  • low levels of thyroid hormone
  • rash
  • shortness of breath
  • cough
  • stomach-area (abdomen) pain
  • headache

These are not all of the possible side effects of Bavencio. Talk to your health care team for more information or advice about side effects.

Bavencio may cause serious side effects:

  • A serious side effect is a side effect that can sometimes become life-threatening.
  • Serious side effects can happen anytime during treatment or even after your treatment has ended. 
  • Notify your healthcare team right away if you get any new or worsening symptoms.

Serious side effects may include:

  • Infusion reaction (hypersensitivity reaction):  fever, shaking chills, rash, itching, skin flushing, feeling dizzy or faint, trouble breathing
  • Lung problems (pneumonitis): cough, chest pain, shortness of breath.
  • Intestinal problems (colitis): diarrhea, blood or mucus in your stools, severe stomach (abdominal) pain, weight loss
  • Hormone gland problems (especially adrenal glands, thyroid, and pancreas): rapid heartbeat, increased sweating, extreme tiredness, weight gain or loss, feeling more hungry or thirsty than usual, hair loss, changes in mood or behavior, such as irritability or forgetfulness, constipation, deeper voice, very low blood pressure, urinating more often than usual, dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting, stomach area (abdomen) pain, feeling cold.
  • Kidney problems: decrease in amount of urine, blood in your urine, swelling in ankles, loss of appetite.
  • Problems in other organs: severe muscle weakness, severe or persistent muscle or joint pains, chest pain and tightness, trouble breathing, skin rash, blisters or peeling; changes in heartbeat, such as beating fast, or seeming to skip a beat, or a pounding sensation; tiredness or sleepiness, swelling of the feet and legs, dizziness or fainting, fever or flu-like symptoms, changes in eyesight.
  • Heart problems: When Bavencio is taken in combination with Inlyta, severe heart problems can occur and can lead to death. Signs and symptoms of heart problems may include: swelling (stomach-area, legs, hand, feet, or ankles), shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting; chest discomfort, including pain or pressure; weight gain, pain or discomfort (arms, back, neck, or jaw), breaking out in a cold sweat, feeling lightheaded or dizzy.

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • bleeding from the rectum or throwing up blood
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • severe headache
  • loss of vision
  • confusion
  • difficulty with word finding or speaking
  • loss of balance

General information about Bavencio: This patient Information sheet summarizes the most important information about Bavencio. If you would like more information, talk with your healthcare team. You can ask your doctor for information about Bavencio that is written for healthcare professionals. 

Patient Assistance Program: 

Resources:  Pfizer, Inc. 1-866-422-2377 

Adapted from the Bavencio package insert.  EMD Serono, Inc. and Pfizer, Inc. December 2020

KCA disclaimer statement:  you should rely primarily upon your doctor for medical information.