How is Eculizumab Administered?
Eculizumab is given by an intravenous (IV) infusion over at least 35 minutes. Infusions are given every 1 or 2 weeks, depending on why you are taking eculizumab and the length of time you have been taking it. You may be monitored for 1 hour after each infusion to check for signs of an allergic reaction.
Why am I Taking Eculizumab?
Eculizumab is used for the treatment of blood disorders in which the immune system is destroying red blood cells, including:
- PNH (paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria)
- aHUS (atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome)
- Other conditions that your physician feels eculizumab may be effective in treating
How Does it Work?
Eculizumab is an example of a targeted therapy – a drug with a specific target within the body and minimal effects on other tissues. Specifically, eculizumab is a monoclonal antibody. It is a protein that works in a similar way to normal human antibodies – by attaching to, and neutralizing, a specific target.
Eculizumab’s target is a complement (immune system) protein called C5. Neutralizing C5 prevents the formation of membrane attack complex or MAC. Normally, MAC plays an important role in the immune system. If MAC is not working properly, it can cause the destruction of red blood cells (hemolysis). In this situation, decreasing the level of MAC means fewer red blood cells are destroyed.
While this medication can help decrease the destruction of red blood cells, it can also weaken your immunity against certain bacterial infections.