IMBRUVICA Offers Targeted Cancer Therapy

In this article...
  • IMBRUVICA is an immunotherapy that uses the immune system to fight cancer cells. Find out how it works and what to expect if you are prescribed this drug, including whether Medicare covers it.

IMBRUVICA is a prescription medication that comes in oral capsule and tablet forms. Doctors prescribe this drug to treat various types of cancer, including Waldenström macroglobulinemia, chronic Graft-Versus-Host-Disease, small lymphocytic lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and mantle cell lymphoma.

How Does IMBRUVICA Work?

This drug kills specific proteins within cancerous cells. This prevents the cells from growing, which can slow or limit the spread of the disease. 

Is IMBRUVICA Chemotherapy?

IMBRUVICA is not chemotherapy but a similar type of treatment called targeted therapy. These drugs fall into the category of immunotherapy, which means the medication triggers the immune system to fight cancer cells. This reduces the impact of the treatment on healthy cells.

How Long Will I Have to Take IMBRUVICA?

As with other cancer drugs, IMBRUVICA should be taken under a doctor's supervision. Your healthcare team will determine when and if you should stop taking the drug. Some people stay on this medication as long as they do not have serious side effects. In clinical trials, study participants took the drug for an average of 3 to 4 years.

What Are the Side Effects of IMBRUVICA?

If your doctor prescribes IMBRUVICA for cancer treatment, you may experience dizziness, sleep disturbances, dry eyes, cold symptoms, anxiety, muscle spasms, joint or muscle pain, stomach pain, appetite issues, weakness, fatigue and headache. Diarrhea, constipation, nausea and vomiting are the most common side effects of this drug. You should wash your hands frequently and take care to avoid infection while taking IMBRUVICA. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take this medication.

Does Medicare Cover IMBRUVICA?

Most Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans pay for Imbruvica if your doctor says the drug is medically necessary. You must meet your plan deductible, which could be up to $480 in 2022, before medication coverage begins. 

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