Prevention and Management of Infusion-Associated Reactions in the Comparison of Alemtuzumab and Rebif(®) Efficacy in Multiple Sclerosis (CARE-MS) Program.Int J MS Care. 2015 Jul-Aug; 17(4):191-8.IJ
Alemtuzumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody approved in several countries for treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). This report summarizes the experience with infusion-associated reactions (IARs) in two phase 3 trials of alemtuzumab in RRMS and examines skilled nursing interventions in IAR prevention and management.
In the Comparison of Alemtuzumab and Rebif(®) Efficacy in Multiple Sclerosis (CARE-MS) studies, patients with RRMS (treatment naive [CARE-MS I] or with inadequate response [defined as at least one relapse] to previous therapy [CARE-MS II]) received intravenous infusions of alemtuzumab 12 mg/day on 5 consecutive days at baseline and on 3 consecutive days 12 months later. Patients were monitored for IARs during and after each infusion. An IAR was defined as any adverse event occurring during any infusion or within 24 hours after infusion.
The IARs affected 90.1% of patients receiving alemtuzumab. The most common IARs were headache, rash, pyrexia, nausea, and flushing; most were mild to moderate in severity. Management of IARs consisted of infusion interruption or rate reduction, pharmacologic therapies, and continual patient education and support. Medication administration before and during alemtuzumab infusion reduced IAR severity. Forty-five of 972 alemtuzumab-treated patients (4.6%) required interruption of the first treatment course (ie, infusions did not occur on consecutive days); of these, 24 (53.3%) were still able to complete the first and second full treatment courses.
Nurses played an invaluable role in the detection and management of IARs in the CARE-MS studies. Best practices for management of IARs associated with alemtuzumab include patient and caregiver education, medication to lessen IAR severity, infusion monitoring, and discharge planning.