Understanding some common side effects that may occur with HALAVEN
Low white blood cell count (neutropenia)
A decrease in white blood cells, or neutropenia, is a side effect of HALAVEN. Your HCP should do a blood test to monitor your blood cells before you receive each dose.
Tips for managing neutropenia and preventing infection
- Practice good hand hygiene
- Maintain good mouth care and consider a mouth rinse with baking soda or salt and baking soda
- Keep cuts or scrapes clean and covered
- Avoid sources of potential bacterial infections (eg, hot tubs and rivers) and eating unpasteurized dairy or undercooked meat
- Avoid contact with sick people or touching human or animal waste
Hair loss (alopecia)
Hair loss is a frequent concern of people with mBC during treatment. It is important to know that you do not have to go through this alone. It can be helpful to speak to others who have had a similar experience by reaching out to support groups in the mBC community.
Tips for managing alopecia
- To prevent or reduce hair loss/thinning, avoid harsh products for your hair or scalp. Try using mild shampoo and soft brushes
- Avoid using items that might damage your hair (dyes, sprays, or hair bands and clips)
- Decrease frequency of hair washing
- Consider changing your hairstyle before a potential hair loss
Numbness, tingling, or pain in your hands or feet (peripheral neuropathy)
Nerve problems, or peripheral neuropathy, are another side effect of HALAVEN. Be sure to tell your health care team if you feel numbness, tingling, or burning in your hands and feet. Your doctor may recommend lowering your dose of HALAVEN to help control this problem.
Tips for managing peripheral neuropathy
- Avoid hot baths and drinking alcohol, which may worsen these symptoms
- Avoid cold temperatures. Wear gloves and socks
- Practice low-intensity activities as discussed with your health care provider (eg, yoga, walking)
- Be careful when handling sharp objects
- If you have diabetes, control your blood sugar levels, as high blood sugar can damage nerves
Feeling very tired (fatigue)
Fatigue is common among people with cancer. It can range from moderate to severe, and though it can be manageable, there isn’t a cure-all to treat it.
Tips for managing fatigue
- Try to stay active by getting regular exercise (with your health care provider’s approval)
- Drink plenty of water as tolerated (unless instructed otherwise by your doctor)
- Eat healthy meals to give you more energy
- Plan rest time in your daily schedule, and ask for help with difficult daily tasks or chores
- Consider mental health counseling, stress management, and relaxation exercises to improve the feelings related to fatigue
Nausea and vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are 2 common side effects that you may experience. You can take steps to reduce these symptoms on your own or talk to your health care team about anti-nausea medicines that can help manage these symptoms.
Tips for managing nausea and vomiting
Limit portion size and eat several small meals instead of 3 large meals. Choose easy-to-digest food and
- Increase fruit and vegetable intake
- Limit high-fat products (mayonnaise, butter)
- Avoid fried and spicy foods
- Sip water at room temperature all day long, unless your doctor instructs you to limit fluid intake
- Sip flat ginger ale or ginger tea
Keep track of your side effects
This information can help your health care team support you. Your doctor may lower or delay your dose of HALAVEN. If side effects do not improve, you may need to stop taking HALAVEN.