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Palifermin

(pal ee fer' min)

Brand Name(s): Kepivance®

WHY is this medicine prescribed?

Palifermin is used to prevent and to speed the healing of severe sores in the mouth and throat that may be caused by chemotherapy and radiation therapy used to treat cancers of the blood or bone marrow (soft fatty material in the middle of bones that makes blood cells). Palifermin may not be safe to use to prevent and treat mouth sores in patients who have other types of cancer. Palifermin is in a class of medications called human keratinocyte growth factors. It works by stimulating the growth of cells in the mouth and throat.

Are there OTHER USES for this medicine?

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

HOW should this medicine be used?

Palifermin comes as a powder to be mixed with liquid to be injected intravenously (into a vein). It is usually given once a day for 3 days in a row before you receive your chemotherapy treatment and then once a day for 3 days in a row after you receive your chemotherapy for a total of 6 doses. You will not be given palifermin on the same day that you are given your cancer chemotherapy treatment. Palifermin must be given at least 24 hours before and at least 24 hours after you receive your chemotherapy treatment.

Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.

What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?

Before receiving palifermin,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to palifermin, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in palifermin injection. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, or tinzaparin (Innohep).
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while receiving palifermin, call your doctor.

What SPECIAL DIETARY instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?

Palifermin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • thick tongue
  • change in color of tongue
  • change in ability to taste food
  • increased or decreased feelings when touched, especially in and around the mouth
  • burning or tingling, especially in and around the mouth
  • joint pain
  • fever

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:

  • rash
  • hives
  • red or itching skin
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs

Palifermin may cause some tumors to grow faster. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking this medication.

Palifermin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

What should I do in case of OVERDOSE?

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.

Symptoms of overdose may include:

  • thick tongue
  • change in color of tongue
  • change in ability to taste food
  • increased or decreased feelings when touched, especially in and around the mouth
  • burning or tingling, especially in and around the mouth
  • joint pain
  • rash
  • red or itching skin
  • swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • fever

What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.


This report on medications is for your information only, and is not considered individual patient advice. Because of the changing nature of drug information, please consult your physician or pharmacist about specific clinical use.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists® represents that the information provided hereunder was formulated with a reasonable standard of care, and in conformity with professional standards in the field. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists® makes no representations or warranties, express or implied, including, but not limited to, any implied warranty of merchantability and/or fitness for a particular purpose, with respect to such information and specifically disclaims all such warranties. Users are advised that decisions regarding drug therapy are complex medical decisions requiring the independent, informed decision of an appropriate health care professional, and the information is provided for informational purposes only. The entire monograph for a drug should be reviewed for a thorough understanding of the drug's actions, uses and side effects. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists® does not endorse or recommend the use of any drug. The information is not a substitute for medical care.

Pronunciation Guide for Drug Names is used with permission. © 2009. The United States Pharmacopeial Convention. All Rights Reserved.

AHFS® Patient Medication Information™. © Copyright, 2020. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists®, 4500 East-West Highway, Suite 900, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.

Selected Revisions: December 15, 2012.