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Alemtuzumab is used in the treatment of blood cancer (chronic lymphocytic leukemia) and multiple sclerosis (ms)

How it works

Alemtuzumab flags the cancer cells for destruction by the body's immune system. It also modulates the immune system to limit its attacks on the nervous system.

Common side effects

Rash, Headache, Insomnia (difficulty in sleeping), Nausea, Upper respiratory tract infection, Decreased white blood cell count, Fatigue, Fever, Itching, Flushing (sense of warmth in the face, ears, neck and trunk), Urticaria, Decreased white blood cell count (lymphocytes)

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Expert advice

  • Alemtuzumab may sometimes cause life-threatening reactions like chest pain, breathlessness, slow or irregular heartbeat and therefore you will be closely monitored during and 2 hours after the infusion.
  • Seek immediate medication attention if you notice unusual bruising or bleeding, blood in urine, swelling of legs or feet, or if you cough up blood. 
  • Avoid activities that may increase your risk of bleeding or injury. Take necessary care to prevent bleeding while shaving or brushing your teeth. 
  • Serious infections may occur during alemtuzumab treatment. Inform doctor immediately if you develop fever, chills, cough, mouth sores, or trouble breathing.
  • Avoid contact with people who have infections.
  • Do not receive live vaccines if you have recently received alemtuzumab.

Frequently asked questions



Is alemtuzumab FDA approved for multiple sclerosis?
Yes, Alemtuzumab is FDA approved for Multiple sclerosis


How is alemtuzumab administered?
Alemtuzumab is administered as an IV infusion over 2 hours (3mg/day) until infusion reactions are ≤grade 2, then 10mg/day on the alternate day and 30mg/day on the next alternate day. 30mg/day dose is continued every alternate day, for 12 weeks.

Content on this page was last updated on 15 February, 2017, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)