Nab-paclitaxel chemotherapy (Abraxane®)

Abraxane® is usually given in conjunction with gemcitabine for advanced pancreatic cancer by intravenous infusion (through a drip) with each infusion usually lasting around 30 minutes.

You will often be given anti-sickness drugs (anti-emetics) at the same time.

How is it given?

Intravenous infusions are given through a thin, short tube (cannula) put into a vein in your arm each time you have treatment.

Alternatively, you may have a central line, a portacath or a PICC line inserted just before your treatment starts. These are tubes that give the drugs directly into a large vein in your chest and will stay in place as long as you need them.

What are the side effects?

  • Decreased blood cell counts. Abraxane® can cause a severe decrease in neutrophils (a type of white blood cells important in fighting in bacterial infections) and platelets (important for clotting and to control bleeding). Your doctor will check your blood cell count during your treatment with Abraxane® and after you have stopped your treatment.
  • numbness, tingling, or burning in your hands or feet (neuropathy).
  • hair loss 
  • numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • abnormal heart beat
  • tiredness
  • joint and muscle pain
  • changes in your liver function tests
  • low red blood cell count (anaemia). Tell your doctor if you feel weak, tired or short of breath.
  • nausea
  • diarrhoea 

Infections can be serious. Let your doctor or nurse know immediately if your temperature goes above 38o (100.4o F) or you suddenly feel unwell even with a normal temperature.

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Information Product No. | Published: 03/10/2019 | Last Updated: 31/10/2019 | Next Review Due: 03/10/2022