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Alemtuzumab is used to treat chronic B-cell lymphocytic leukaemia (cancer in white blood cells) and relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (chronic disease that can affect brain, spinal cord, and the optic nerves in your eyes).

How it works

Alemtuzumab is a monoclonal antibody and works on the immune system to destroy cancer cells.  In treatment of multiple sclerosis, alemtuzumab works by improving the immune system.

Common side effects

Vomiting, Nausea, Anxiety, Bloody diarrhea, Headache, Insomnia, Loss of appetite, Mouth ulcer, Muscle pain, Stomach pain, Uncoordinated body movements


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


Q. Is alemtuzumab FDA approved for multiple sclerosis?
Yes, Alemtuzumab is FDA approved for Multiple sclerosis.
Q. 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 30 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)