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Zevalin® - For Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma 

Introduction
Zevalin® is a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody therapy that is used to treat some types of non-Hodgkin’s B-Cell lymphoma.  Lymphoma is cancer of the lymphatic/immune system.  Radiolabeled monoclonal antibody therapy may be used in cases when the lymphoma does not respond to other types of treatment or if it returns after initially responding to a treatment.  Zevalin therapy involves a combination of intravenous (IV) medications that are delivered in a specific sequence.  The therapy targets and delivers radiation to B-cells, the cells that grow out of control in this type of cancer.
 
The Zevalin treatment series uses two forms of Zevalin and another agent called Rituxan.  The two forms of Zevalin include a monoclonal antibody and a radioisotope.  The monoclonal antibodies are designed to recognize and attach to a particular part of a B-cell called the CD20 antigen.  The CD20 antigen is located on both cancerous and non-cancerous cells.  Radioisotopes give off radiation.  When delivered intravenously, Zevalin attaches to the CD20 antigen and delivers radiation to the B-cells as well as nearby healthy cells.
 
The exact effectiveness of Zevalin is unknown.  Initial studies showed that over half of people that were treated with Zevalin responded to the treatment.  More studies are underway.  Zevalin treatment is not for everyone.  Your doctor can let you know if Zevalin is an appropriate treatment for you.  Zevalin is associated with side effects; some of them are significant and may cause death.  Your doctor will carefully review the risks and benefits of Zevalin treatment with you.

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Treatment
Zevalin treatment is delivered on an outpatient basis over seven to nine days.  Your hematologist/oncologist will coordinate your treatment program.  Your hematologist/oncologist will administer the Rituxan.  A radiation oncologist and nuclear medicine specialist will administer the Zevalin medications.  Each IV treatment takes a short time.  At specific times during the treatment process, imaging photos will be taken to monitor the Zevalin in your body.
 
You may resume your regular activities following your treatments.  You should avoid bodily fluid contact with other people for a week following your treatment to prevent exposing others to radiation.  You should use contraception during your treatment and for a year following your treatment as well. 
 
Your oncologist will take complete blood cell counts and platelet counts every week for at least 12 weeks following the full course of Zevalin treatment.  Some people may be monitored more frequently.  Your doctor will thoroughly review the side effects of Zevalin with you.  Because the consequences of some side effects are life threatening, you should report any side effects to your doctor immediately, even if they occur months after your treatment.  Your treatment is considered effective if your signs of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma get better or go away.

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.