Find out what eribulin is, how you have it and other important information about having eribulin.
Eribulin is a chemotherapy drug. Its full name is eribulin mesylate. It's also known by its brand name Halaven.
It is a treatment for:
- advanced breast cancer, usually in people who have already had at least two other courses of chemotherapy
- liposarcoma that can't be removed with surgery in people who have had chemotherapy
How eribulin works
Eribulin works by stopping the cancer cells from separating into 2 new cells. So it blocks the growth of the cancer. It is a type of drug called a microtubule inhibitor.
How you have eribulin
You have the treatment through a drip into your arm. A nurse puts a small tube (a cannula) into one of your veins and connects the drip to it.
You might need a central line. This is a long plastic tube that gives the drugs into a large vein, either in your chest or through a vein in your arm. It stays in while you’re having treatment, which may be for a few months.
When you have eribulin
You usually have eribulin treatment in a 3 week cycle.
- You have eribulin on the first day
- You have a second dose one week later
- You then have no treatment for 13 days
Your next cycle of treatment starts 3 weeks after the first dose of eribulin.
Tests during treatment
You have blood tests before starting treatment and during your treatment. They check your levels of blood cells and other substances in the blood. They also check how well your liver and kidneys are working.
Other medicines, food and drink
Cancer drugs can interact with some other medicines and herbal products. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about any medicines you are taking. This includes vitamins, herbal supplements and over the counter remedies.
Pregnancy and contraception
This drug may harm a baby developing in the womb. It is important not to become pregnant or father a child while you are having treatment with this drug and for at least 3 months afterwards. Talk to your doctor or nurse about effective contraception before starting treatment.
We don’t know how this treatment might affect fertility. You may not be able to become pregnant or father a child after treatment with this drug. Talk to your doctor before starting treatment if you think you may want to have a baby in the future.
Some men might be able to store sperm before starting treatment. Some women might be able to store eggs or embryos before treatment.
Don’t breastfeed during this treatment because the drug may come through in your breast milk.
Treatment for other conditions
Always tell other doctors, nurses or dentists that you’re having this drug if you need treatment for anything else, including teeth problems.
Don’t have immunisations with live vaccines while you’re having treatment and for at least 6 months afterwards.
In the UK, live vaccines include rubella, mumps, measles, BCG, yellow fever and shingles vaccine (Zostavax).
- have other vaccines, but they might not give you as much protection as usual
- have the flu vaccine
- be in contact with other people who've had live vaccines as injections
Avoid contact with people who’ve had live vaccines taken by mouth (oral vaccines). This includes the rotavirus vaccine given to babies. The virus is in the baby’s urine for up to 2 weeks and can make you ill. So, avoid changing their nappies for 2 weeks after their vaccination if possible. Or wear disposable gloves and wash your hands well afterwards.
You also need to avoid anyone who has had oral polio or typhoid vaccination recently.
This drug contains small amounts of alcohol. This is not harmful to most people but may be if you have alcohol problems.
More information about this treatment
For further information about this treatment go to the electronic Medicines Compendium (eMC) website.
You can report any side effect you have to the Medicines Health and Regulatory Authority (MHRA) as part of their Yellow Card Scheme.