If your doctor has recommended Tivdak, you probably have some questions. We'll break down the details and give you the information you're looking for to help you understand why Tivdak is an option when other treatments did not have the desired outcome. Some patients feel like they have hit a wall when it comes to their cervical cancer treatment. The fight isn't over.
What is Tivdak?
Tivdak is prescribed to patients who have had a recurrence of their cervical cancer after chemotherapy failed to eradicate it or is simply not working. Patients who have had the cancer spread to other parts of the body can also be treated with the prescription medication. A doctor might refer to spreading cancer as recurrent or metastatic.
How does Tivdak Work?
Unlike chemotherapy, the FDA-approved Tivdak is an antibody-drug conjugate. An ADC goes directly after protein on the cancer cells. The medicine, which contains something known as monomethyl auristatin E, is absorbed into the cancer cell and quickly goes to work killing the cells. The Monomethyl auristatin E (MMAE) is potent and will stop the cell cycle and ultimately kill the cancer cell. Unfortunately, Tivdak can also attack normal cells, resulting in some side effects.
Why Use Tivdak?
If chemotherapy didn't stop the cervical cancer, Tivdak is another option. A clinical trial has shown positive results in shrinking or eliminating tumors. A current study has shown participants in the trial are seeing a response to the medicine for a little over eight months on average.
How to Take Tivdak?
Tivdak is given via infusion therapy that's given once every three weeks. For those that have gone through chemotherapy, it is a similar process. One of the side effects of the medicine is vision problems. Before your infusion starts, you will be given eye drops and a cold pack to put over your eyes. Your doctor will determine the dosage and monitor you for side effects. Because of the risk to the eyes while taking Tivdak, a regiment of eye drops is critical. An optometrist or ophthalmologist may need to be consulted if eye problems develop. The in-chair time is about one hour.
Side Effects of Tivdak
There are a many side effects, but these are the most serious:
- Peripheral neuropathy (nerve problems) are common with TIVDAK and can be serious.
- Hemorrhage or Bleeding; This is a common side effect. Symptoms include bleeding during treatment with TIVDAK including blood in your stools or black stools (looks like tar), blood in your urine, cough up or vomit blood, unusual vaginal bleeding.
- Lung problems. This therapy may cause severe or life-threatening inflammation of the lungs that can lead to death.
Tivdak is new and cutting edge. This medicine is the first of its kind to be approved by the FDA for advanced cervical cancer. As with any prescription medicine, you will want to talk with your doctor about the side effects and risks. It may not be right for everyone. It is not a perfect solution, but it is hope.
Please visit their site for a full list of side effects of Tivdak.