Zirabev (bevacizumab-bvzr)

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

Zirabev® (bevacizumab-bvzr) is an approved biosimilar to Avastin® (bevacizumab). Like Avastin, Zirabev is used in combination with chemotherapy drugs carboplatin and paclitaxel to treat advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in people who have not received chemotherapy for their advanced disease.1

Biosimilars are drugs that are very similar to an already-approved biologic drug. Biologics are drugs made from living cells. These cells can come from parts of the blood, protein, viruses, or tissue. This process turns the cells into drugs that can prevent, treat, and cure disease. Biosimilars are evaluated for safety, quality, and effectiveness before they receive approval. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only approves biosimilars that have no major differences from the approved reference drug.2

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Zirabev is also approved to treat other cancers, including certain cases of:1

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Glioblastoma
  • Renal cell carcinoma
  • Cervical cancer
  • Ovarian cancer

What are the ingredients in Zirabev?

The active ingredient in Zirabev is bevacizumab.1

How does Zirabev work?

Zirabev 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 nutrients tumors need to grow.1

By blocking VEGF, Zirabev helps “starve” cancerous tumors, preventing them from growing and spreading.1

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects of Zirabev include:1

  • Nosebleed
  • Headache
  • High blood pressure
  • Runny nose
  • Too much protein in the urine
  • Change in how things taste
  • Dry skin
  • Bleeding
  • Watery eyes
  • Back pain
  • Redness or peeling of the skin

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

Other things to know

Before starting treatment with Zirabev, tell your doctor if you have:1

  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney problems
  • Heart problems
  • Nervous system problems
  • Vision problems
  • An infection

Zirabev 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 Zirabev. You should also not breastfeed during treatment with Zirabev and for some time after the last dose. Talk to your doctor about your options for birth control and breastfeeding while taking Zirabev.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 Zirabev.