Entyvio

Written by Dr. Brian Bressler on October 31, 2019

What is Entyvio?

Entyvio (vedolizumab) reduces inflammation in the intestines by blocking the movement of white blood cells into the intestines.

Entyvio is used to treat Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Entyvio is often used when other drugs have not worked for you, or have caused bad side effects.

How is Entyvio given?

Entyvio is given through an intravenous (IV). There are 3 induction doses and then ongoing maintenance doses. At the start of treatment, you will receive one infusion (week 0). You will receive a second infusion 2 weeks later (week 2), and a third infusion 6 weeks after the first (week 6). Thereafter, you will receive one infusion approximately every 8 weeks.

Entyvio is administered at various infusion clinics. The infusion process will take approximately 30-60 minutes. During this time, a nurse will be monitoring you and checking your vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, etc).

How does it work?

White blood cells migrate to the GI tract during times of inflammation. Entyvio is a protein that selectively targets these specific white blood cells, binds to them, and prevents their passage into the intestine. By blocking this activity, inflammation is reduced and allows the bowel to heal.

Vedolizumab belongs to a group of medicines called Biological Drugs. Vedolizumab works in a different way than anti-TNF drugs (e.g. infliximab and adalimumab) because it is a ‘gut-selective integrin blocker’. It binds to integrin α₄β₇. Blocking the α₄β₇ integrin results in gut-selective anti-inflammatory activity. This means that the drug only targets the gut, rather than the whole of the body like the anti-TNF drugs do.

Important Information

You may need to reschedule your infusion if you have any signs or symptoms of an infection and/or are running a fever.

Entyvio side effects

Common side effects of Entyvio (vedolizumab):
Body aches or pain
Chills
Difficulty with breathing
Ear congestion
Fever
Headache
Loss of voice
Nasal congestion
Sneezing
Sore throat
Tiredness or weakness

Some side effects of Entyvio can happen almost immediately in direct response to the infusion. Others side effects may not appear until several days, or even months, after the infusion.

Some side effects are mild and go away on their own. Side effects that are more serious may require treatment.

Additional details about the side effects of Entyvio are:
Allergic infusion reactions: This reaction may occur at any time while on therapy, including during or after the infusion. Symptoms may include itching, hives, difficulty breathing, heart palpitations, and dizziness. A severe reaction would include anaphylaxis. Mild to moderate reactions can be treated and/or avoided by adding an IV steroid, Benadryl, and/or Tylenol prior to your infusion.
Increase liver enzymes: Entyvio can cause an increase in liver enzymes. This effect can be reversed when the medication is stopped. Regular blood work monitoring is recommended.
Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML): PML is a rare and often fatal infection of the brain. Typical signs and symptoms of PML include a progressive weakness in one side of the body, clumsiness, and disturbances in vision, thinking, memory and orientation. Medications that work similarly to Entyvio have been associated with PML. However, unlike Entyvio, their mechanism of action is targeted to the brain. Because Entyvio works specifically on the GI tract, this is considered an unlikely complication though it cannot be excluded entirely. Entyvio has no known systemic immunosuppressive activity.

Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits before you start on Entyvio. Let your doctor or nurse know about any new symptoms you develop while on Entyvio.

When will I start to feel better?

Although it is possible to see benefits after the first infusion, most people will see an improvement in their symptoms after their 3 induction doses. The full effects of the medication can take several months.

You should book a follow-up appointment with your doctor to evaluate your response to treatment after your first 3 infusions.

How long do I have to take this medication?

Entyvio is used to induce remission and is then continued regularly to maintain remission. It is most effective when taken at the scheduled intervals. If the medication is stopped, or if there were delays in your treatment, there is an increased risk of developing antibodies to the medication. This would increase the risk of an allergic reaction and/or cause the drug to be ineffective.

Can I drink alcohol while on this medication?

Yes, alcohol can be consumed in moderation.

What happens when I want to get pregnant?

There are no known safety concerns with the use of Entyvio during pregnancy. Please discuss your family planning with your doctor.

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