Avastin (bevacizumab)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: August 2023 | Last updated: August 2023

Avastin® (bevacizumab) is a targeted therapy that is approved to treat some adults with advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC). Avastin is used as a first-line treatment along with the chemotherapy drugs carboplatin and paclitaxel.1

What are the ingredients in Avastin?

The active ingredient in Avastin is bevacizumab.1

How does Avastin work?

Avastin blocks a certain protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). While healthy cells make some VEGF, some cancer cells make too much VEGF. Blocking VEGF may help to prevent new blood vessel growth, including blood vessels that provide the nutrients tumors need to grow. By blocking VEGF, Avastin helps “starve” cancerous tumors, preventing them from growing and spreading.1

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects of Avastin used for NSCLC include:1

  • High blood pressure
  • Too much protein in the urine
  • Nosebleeds
  • Bleeding
  • Back pain
  • Headache
  • Taste changes
  • Dry skin
  • Skin and nose inflammation
  • Watery eyes

These are not all the possible side effects of Avastin. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Avastin. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Avastin.

Other things to know

Before starting treatment with Avastin, tell your doctor if you have surgery planned. Avastin should not be used for 28 days before or after surgery and until surgical wounds are fully healed.1

Your doctor should check your blood pressure and urine protein levels before and during treatment with Avastin.1

Avastin may lead to ovarian failure in people with ovaries. Talk to your doctor about options for preserving your eggs before starting treatment with Avastin.1

Avastin can harm an unborn baby. If you can become pregnant, you should use birth control during treatment and for some time after the last dose of Avastin. You should also not breastfeed during treatment with Avastin and for some time after the last dose. Talk to your doctor about your options for birth control and breastfeeding while taking Avastin.1

Before beginning treatment for lung cancer, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Avastin.

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