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Zavesca

What is Zavesca

Zavesca reduces the formation of the protein glucosylceramide in the body. Individuals with type 1 Gaucher disease (a hereditary disorder) cannot break down glucosylceramide effectively. Therefore, it may build up in the tissues and cause problems.

Zavesca is used in the treatment of mild to moderate type 1 Gaucher disease by people who cannot receive enzyme replacement therapy. Untreated Gaucher disease may result in anemia (low level of red blood cells), thrombocytopenia (low level of platelets), bone disease, hepatomegaly (enlargement of the liver), or splenomegaly (enlargement of the spleen).

Zavesca may also be used for purposes other than those listed here.

General medical information about Zavesca

Nerve problems such as numbness, tingling, and tremor (shaking) of the hands have been reported by some people taking Zavesca. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience new or worsening numbness, tingling, or burning in the hands, arms, legs, or feet or tremor in the hands.

What should I discuss with my health care provider before taking Zavesca

Before taking Zavesca, tell your doctor if you have kidney problems, any other medical conditions, or if you take any other medicines. You may not be able to take Zavesca, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment.

Zavesca is in the FDA pregnancy category X. This means that Zavesca is known to cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Do not take Zavesca without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment. Use of birth control is recommended for women during treatment with Zavesca. Because Zavesca can also affect sperm, birth control is also recommend for men during, and for three months following, treatment with Zavesca.

It is not known whether Zavesca passes into breast milk and if it will affect a nursing baby. Do not take Zavesca without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should take Zavesca

Take Zavesca exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

Take Zavesca at the same time or times each day as directed by your doctor.

Swallow each capsule whole with a full glass of water.

Zavesca can be taken with or without food.

Store Zavesca at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

If you miss a dose:

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take only the next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose of this medication unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

What happens if you overdose:

Seek emergency medical attention if an overdose is suspected.

Symptoms of a Zavesca overdose are not well known but may include dizziness, numbness and tingling, and blood problems.

Avoid while taking Zavesca

There are no restrictions on food, beverages, or activity during treatment with Zavesca unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

Possible side effects of Zavesca

Nerve problems such as numbness, tingling, and tremor (shaking) of the hands have been reported by some people taking Zavesca. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience new or worsening numbness, tingling, or burning in the hands, arms, legs, or feet or tremor in the hands.

Seek emergency medical attention if you experience a rare but serious allergic reaction to Zavesca including difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives.

Other less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take Zavesca and talk to your doctor if you experience:
- diarrhea;
- decreased appetite or weight loss;
- gas or abdominal pain;
- constipation;
- muscle cramps or weakness;
- headache;
- dizziness; or
- vision problems.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect Zavesca

Zavesca is not intended for use with imiglucerase (Cerezyme), another treatment for type 1 Gaucher disease.

There are no known interactions between Zavesca and other medications. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any other prescription or over-the-counter medications, including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products, during treatment with Zavesca.

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