If you have a certain kind of cancer, your doctor may recommend Avastin (bevacizumab) as a treatment option for you.
Avastin is a prescription drug that’s used to treat certain forms of the following cancers in adults:
- lung cancer
- cervical cancer
- kidney cancer
- colorectal cancer
- liver cancer
- cancers of the fallopian tubes, peritoneum, or ovaries
Avastin is a
A healthcare professional will give the drug as an intravenous (IV) infusion. This is an injection into a vein over a period of time.
Depending on the kind of cancer being treated, Avastin may be used together with other cancer drugs, such as chemotherapy. Your doctor will prescribe a regimen (treatment plan) for your specific condition.
This article describes the dosages of Avastin, as well as its strength and how the drug is given. To learn more about Avastin, see this in-depth article.
Note: This article covers Avastin’s typical dosages, which are provided by the drug’s manufacturer. But your doctor will prescribe the Avastin dosage that is right for you.
Below is information about Avastin’s form, strengths, and typical dosages.
What is Avastin’s form?
Avastin comes as a liquid solution in a single-dose vial. A healthcare professional will administer the solution as an IV infusion (an injection into a vein over a period of time). It’s possible that you may receive the infusion through a port (a small medical device implanted under your skin).
What strength does Avastin come in?
Avastin comes in the following strengths:
- 100 milligrams (mg) per 4 milliliters (mL)
- 400 mg/16 mL
What are the typical dosages of Avastin?
Avastin is commonly given with other treatments — usually types of chemotherapy to treat cancer. The drugs you take along with Avastin will depend on the type of cancer it’s treating.
The dose of Avastin you’ll receive depends on your body weight in kilograms (kg) as well as the condition you’re using it to treat.
For example, if your doctor prescribes an Avastin dose of 15 mg/kg, you’ll receive 15 mg of Avastin for every kilogram that you weigh. So if you weigh 70 kg,* your dose of Avastin would be 1,050 mg.
A healthcare professional will give you Avastin by IV infusion, so they’ll make sure you get the right dose.
* One kg is equal to about 2.2 pounds (lbs.), so 70 kg is about 154 lbs.
Dosage for ovarian cancer
The dosage of Avastin you’ll receive for ovarian cancer depends on the type of ovarian cancer you have and which chemotherapy drugs you’ll also be taking.
Certain cancers of the fallopian tubes or the peritoneum (abdominal cavity) are treated with the same Avastin regimens described below.
Stage 3 or 4 cancer
With stage 3 and stage 4 cancer, the disease has spread from where it started to other areas in the body. Both stages 3 and 4 are serious types of cancer.
For treating stage 3 or 4 ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneum cancer, you may receive Avastin with the chemotherapy drugs carboplatin and paclitaxel. This treatment would occur after you have surgery to remove the tumor.
You’ll receive 15 mg/kg of Avastin every 3 weeks with chemotherapy. You may repeat this regimen as many as six times.
Then, you’ll follow the same Avastin dosage schedule without chemotherapy. You may continue taking this dosage until the cancer gets worse or you’ve had the treatment 22 times.
Recurrent, platinum-resistant cancer
Cancer that gets better but comes back again is called recurrent. Platinum-resistant means the cancer doesn’t respond to a certain type of chemotherapy drug.
If you have this type of ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneum cancer, you may receive Avastin with one of the following chemotherapy drugs: paclitaxel, doxorubicin, or topotecan. Your Avastin dosage will be 10 mg/kg every 2 weeks.
The manufacturer also gives another dosage recommendation for Avastin when used together with topotecan: 15 mg/kg every 3 weeks.
Recurrent, platinum-sensitive cancer
Cancer that gets better but comes back again is called recurrent. Platinum-sensitive cancer refers to cancer that improves when treated with certain chemotherapy drugs.
If you have this type of ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneum cancer, you may receive Avastin with the chemotherapy drugs carboplatin and paclitaxel. In this case, your Avastin dosage will be 15 mg/kg every 3 weeks. You can repeat this regimen six to eight times.
Or your doctor may recommend that you receive the chemotherapy drugs carboplatin and gemcitabine with Avastin. In this case, you’ll receive an Avastin dosage of 15 mg/kg every 3 weeks. You can repeat this regimen six to 10 times.
Regardless of your chemotherapy regimen, you may continue receiving the same Avastin dosage after your chemotherapy ends. You’ll continue Avastin treatment until the cancer worsens.
Dosage for colon cancer
Avastin is used together with chemotherapy to treat colorectal cancer that’s metastatic. This means the cancer has spread from the colon or rectum to other parts of the body. The dosage of Avastin you’ll receive depends on which chemotherapy drugs you’ll also be taking.
A first-line treatment is the first type of treatment doctors will try with newly diagnosed cancer. For first-line treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer, you may receive Avastin with some combination of chemotherapy drugs. These may include fluorouracil, leucovorin, oxaliplatin, irinotecan, or capecitabine.
Depending on your chemotherapy regimen, your Avastin dosage will be 5 mg/kg every 2 weeks or 10 mg/kg every 2 weeks.
Some chemotherapy regimens are usually given after cancer has become worse despite treatment. These are called second-line treatments.
For second-line treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer, you may receive Avastin with some combination of chemotherapy drugs. These may include fluorouracil, leucovorin, oxaliplatin, irinotecan, or capecitabine.
Depending on your chemotherapy regimen, your Avastin dosage will be either 5 mg/kg every 2 weeks or 7.5 mg/kg every 3 weeks.
Dosage for glioblastoma
Avastin is used to treat recurrent glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer. For treating this type of cancer, your dosage will be 10 mg/kg every 2 weeks.
Dosage for non-small cell lung cancer
Avastin is used as a first-line treatment for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that is non-squamous. This means the cancer hasn’t affected the cells that line your airways.
The NSCLC must also meet one of these criteria:
- It has spread beyond the lungs.
- It has returned after surgery.
- It can’t be removed with surgery.
For this condition, you’ll receive Avastin with the chemotherapy drugs carboplatin and paclitaxel. In this case, your Avastin dosage will be 15 mg/kg every 3 weeks.
Dosage for kidney cancer
For treating metastatic kidney cancer, you’ll receive Avastin with interferon alfa. With this regimen, your Avastin dosage will be 10 mg/kg every 2 weeks.
Dosage for cervical cancer
To treat certain types of cervical cancer that are metastatic or recurrent, you may receive Avastin with the chemotherapy drugs paclitaxel and either cisplatin or topotecan. With either of these regimens, your Avastin dosage will be 15 mg/kg every 3 weeks.
Dosage for liver cancer
Avastin is used together with Tecentriq (atezolizumab) to treat liver cancer that hasn’t previously been treated. For this purpose, your Avastin dosage will be 15 mg/kg every 3 weeks. You’ll continue to take this dosage until the cancer becomes worse or the drug causes you harm.
Is Avastin used long term?
Yes, Avastin is typically used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Avastin is safe and effective for you, it’s likely that you’ll receive it long term.
If you have certain side effects, your doctor may adjust your Avastin dosage. In such cases, your doctor may pause your dose temporarily or give your infusion more slowly.
For example, if you have a wound that’s healing too slowly, your doctor may temporarily stop your Avastin treatment. They might start your treatment again after your wound heals.
If the side effects are serious, your doctor may choose a different medication to treat your cancer.
The following are frequently asked questions about Avastin.
Can Avastin be given as an intravitreal injection?
It can be, but it’s not given this way for the conditions it usually treats.
An intravitreal injection is an injection of a medication into the eye. Avastin may be used off-label* to treat a type of macular degeneration, an eye disease that leads to blindness. For this use, a healthcare professional will inject Avastin into the affected eye.
If you have questions about Avastin as an off-label treatment for macular degeneration, talk with your doctor.
* Off-label use is when a drug is used for conditions it hasn’t been approved for by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
What is Avastin’s dosage for eye-related problems?
Avastin is used off-label to treat macular degeneration that involves macular edema. Macular edema means there is too much fluid in the eye. The Avastin dosage commonly used for macular degeneration is 1.25 mg. A healthcare professional gives this as an injection into the eye.
If your doctor thinks this treatment is appropriate for your condition, they’ll let you know how often you’ll need injections.
Will my doctor use a dose calculator to figure out how much Avastin I should receive?
There may not be a dose calculator specific to Avastin. But your doctor will need to make a simple calculation to figure out how much Avastin you should receive.
Your doctor will determine your dose based on your body weight in kg as well as the type of cancer you have. For example, if your doctor prescribes an Avastin dose of 15 mg/kg, you’ll receive 15 mg of Avastin for every kg that you weigh. So if you weigh 85 kg (about 175 pounds), your dose of Avastin would be 1,275 mg.
The dosage of Avastin your doctor prescribes may depend on several factors. These include:
- the type and severity of the condition you’re using Avastin to treat
- the strength of Avastin you’re using
- your body’s reaction to the drug
- other drugs you’re taking
- other conditions you may have (see “Dosage adjustments” under “What is Avastin’s dosage?”)
A healthcare professional will give you Avastin as an IV infusion. If you have a port, they’ll use it to give you the infusion. A port is a small medical device placed under your skin. It allows you to get doses of medication into a vein without inserting a needle each time.
You’ll need to go to an infusion center, hospital, or doctor’s office to get your infusion.
Your first infusion will usually take 90 minutes, and the second one will take 60 minutes. After that, infusions typically take 30 minutes. The infusions are slower at first to make sure your body doesn’t have any problems with the medication.
You may have your Avastin infusion on the same day as your chemotherapy infusion. This will depend on several factors.
To learn more about what to expect at your Avastin infusions, ask your doctor. If you plan to have surgery, ask your doctor about temporarily stopping your Avastin dosage.
If possible, try not to miss an infusion appointment. But if you miss an appointment or know you can’t make your next appointment, call your doctor to reschedule as soon as possible. Your doctor may have to adjust your dosing schedule.
To help make sure you don’t miss an appointment, try writing down a reminder on a calendar or setting one on your phone.
The sections above describe the typical dosages of Avastin provided by the drug manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Avastin for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.
Your doctor can answer any questions you have about your Avastin treatment. Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor:
- Will my Avastin dosage be lowered if I have a wound that won’t heal?
- If my chemotherapy changes, will my Avastin dose change too?
- Will a higher dose of Avastin make my blood pressure worse?
- If my Avastin dose has to stop temporarily, when will it restart?
- Will I get my Avastin dose through a port under my skin?
How much time should I set aside for each of my Avastin infusions?
The time it will take for the infusion itself depends on how many Avastin infusions you’ve already had. It also depends on how busy the infusion center or hospital is that day.
Your first infusion with Avastin will take 90 minutes, and your second infusion will take 60 minutes. If you don’t experience any problems, the time of your next infusions will be shortened to 30 minutes.
Remember that you’ll need to plan time for any other infusions you get on the same day.
You’ll also need to budget time for getting to the location where you’re receiving your medication. There will likely be some preparation prior to the infusion, such as placing a needle into one of your veins. There may also be waiting time, as with any doctor’s appointment. So it’s a good idea to plan for a lot of extra time with your first visit.
If you have questions about the time it will take for your infusions, talk with your doctor.
Dena Westphalen, PharmDAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
Disclaimer: Healinggeeks has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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