Sounds like 'VE-doe-LIZ-ue-mab'

Key points about vedolizumab

  • Vedolizumab is used to treat moderate to severe Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. 
  • Vedolizumab is also called Entyvio®. 
  • Find out how to have it safely and possible side effects.
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Vedolizumab is used to treat inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. It's usually used when other treatments haven't worked well. 

Vedolizumab belongs to a group of medicines known as monoclonal antibodies. It works by blocking some natural inflammatory substances in your body. This helps to decrease swelling (inflammation) in the gut, which eases symptoms and may slow or stop damage from these bowel disorders.

Vedolizumab is given by slow injection into a vein in your arm (called intravenous infusion), by a doctor or nurse, every 2 to 8 weeks. It usually takes about 30 minutes for you to receive your entire dose of vedolizumab.

Vedolizumab may cause serious allergic reactions. Some people have reactions a few hours or days afterwards. A doctor or nurse will monitor you during the infusion and for 2 hours afterwards to be sure you're not having a serious reaction to the medicine. You may be given other medicines to treat reactions to vedolizumab or prevent them from happening again if you had reactions to vedolizumab before.

Here are some things to know when you're taking vedolizumab. Other things may be important as well, so ask your healthcare provider what you should know about.

  • Vedolizumab weakens your body’s defence (immune) system, so you're more likely to pick up infections. It's important to avoid anyone who has chickenpox or shingles.
  • You should avoid becoming pregnant while you are having vedolizumab and for at least 18 weeks after your last dose. Discuss with your healthcare provider which types of contraception are suitable for you and your partner.
  • Some vaccines shouldn't be taken if you are on vedolizumab. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist first. It is safe for you to have the annual flu vaccine.
  • Vedolizumab may interact with a few medicines and herbal supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting vedolizumab or before starting any new medicines, including those you may buy over the counter.

Like all medicines, vedolizumab can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • During the infusion you may experience low blood pressure, where you feel faint or dizzy.
  • Tell your nurse. 
  • Flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, shivering, a runny nose or sneezing
  • Headache
  • You may experience these symptoms during the infusion or any time up to 2 days after the infusion.
  • Before the infusion you will be prescribed medicine to reduce these effects.
  • Contact your doctor if they bother you.  
  • Allergic reaction such as a skin rash, itching, swelling of your lips, face and mouth or difficulty breathing
  • Tell your doctor immediately or phone Healthline on 0800 611 116.
  • Signs of an infections such as fever, cough, sore throat, diarrhoea (runny poo) or generally feeling weak and unwell
  • Tell your doctor immediately or phone Healthline on 0800 611 116.
Did you know that you can report a medicine side effect to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)? Report a side effect to a product.(external link)

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Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist, Healthify He Puna Waiora. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.

Reviewed by: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland

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