What is alemtuzumab, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

  • Alemtuzumab is an injectable drug used for the treatment of B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL). People with CLL have too many of a type of white blood cell called lymphocytes in the blood and bone marrow. Alemtuzumab is an antibody that targets a protein called CD52 that is found on the surface of the lymphocytes. Alemtuzumab attaches to lymphocytes and then activates the immune system to help kill the lymphocytes.
  • The FDA approved alemtuzumab in May, 2001.

Is alemtuzumab available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for alemtuzumab?


What is the dosage for alemtuzumab?

  • Alemtuzumab is given by intravenous infusion over 2 hours. The dose should be gradually increased to the recommended dose of 30 mg/day three times per week for 12 weeks.
  • Medications that should be given during alemtuzumab therapy to prevent side effects and infections include oral antihistamines, acetaminophen (Tylenol), trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole DS (Bactrim DS), and famciclovir (Famvir).

Which drugs or supplements interact with alemtuzumab?

Alemtuzumab drug interaction studies have not been conducted.

Is alemtuzumab safe to take if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

  • Proteins such as alemtuzumab, may cross the placental barrier and may be excreted in breast milk. Alemtuzumab has not been studied in pregnant women or nursing mothers. It should be given to a pregnant or nursing woman only if clearly needed.

What else should I know about alemtuzumab?

What preparations of alemtuzumab are available?

Injection (single use vial): 30 mg/vial

How should I keep alemtuzumab stored?

Alemtuzumab should be stored at 2 C to 8 C (36 F to 46 F), protected from light, and not frozen. If frozen, thaw to 2 to 8 C before administration.

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Medically Reviewed on 8/27/2019



FDA Prescribing Information