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Erbitux – uses, health risks, and side effects at

Wednesday, September 05, 2018 by

Erbitux (generic name: cetuximab) is a medicine used to treat colon and rectum cancers. It is also used to treat head and neck cancer. This cancer medicine interrupts the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body. In most cases, Erbitux is combined with other cancer medicines or radiation treatment. This drug is given as an infusion into a vein, typically once every week for six to seven weeks or until the body stops responding to the medication.

This medicine should not be taken by people who are allergic to cetuximab or mouse protein. It should also not be used for people with heart rhythm problems, lung disease or a breathing disorder, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, or an electrolyte imbalance.

Known side effects of Erbitux

The most common side effects of Erbitux include the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Dry or cracked skin
  • Headaches
  • Itching
  • Nail changes
  • Nausea
  • Rash
  • Respiratory, skin, and mouth infections
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss

Erbitux can also cause low blood magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Although rare, it can also cause serious side effects, such as life-threatening allergic reactions and heart attacks, especially if the patient was also undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Body systems that may be harmed by Erbitux

The body systems harmed by Erbitux include:

  • Cardiovascular system, as it causes cardiopulmonary arrest and/or sudden death.
  • Circulatory system, as it causes leukopenia and anemia.
  • Digestive system, as it causes diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, anorexia, constipation, stomatitis, dyspepsia, mucositis, and abdominal pain.
  • Integumentary system, as it causes rash, alopecia, nail disorder, and skin disorder.
  • Respiratory system, as it causes dyspnea and increased cough.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent side effects of Erbitux

The food items may help treat and prevent rash, one of the most common side effects of Erbitux, include:

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Coconut oil
  • Foods low in histamines, such as beans, fresh fruit (except tomatoes and overly ripe fruits), leafy green vegetables, legumes, raw nuts, seeds (except peanuts that are prone to yeast and mold), and whole grains
  • Mangosteen

Treatments, management plans for the Erbitux’ side effects

Diarrhea, one of the most common side effect of Erbitux, can be treated and managed by drinking plenty of water and eating a bland diet.

Where to learn more


Erbitux (generic name: cetuximab) is used to treat cancers of the colon and rectum.

Erbitux commonly causes diarrhea, dry or cracked skin, headache, itching, nail changes, nausea, rash, respiratory, skin, and mouth infections, upset stomach, vomiting, weakness, and weight loss.

Erbitux also causes severe side effects, such as life-threatening allergic reactions and heart attacks.

Sources include: 1 2 1 2


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