Talimogene laherparepvec (T-Vec), or Imlygic

Talimogene laherparepvec (T-Vec), or Imlygic

This patient-friendly article is about chemotherapy drug, Talimogene laherparepvec (T-Vec) trade name Imlygic; it is used to treat melanoma in the skin and lymph nodes.

T-vec was approved by the FDA in 2015. Imlygic is made from a genetically modified of type I herpes simplex virus and because of this means that if the other people become in contact with Imlygic the virus could be transmitted. This also applies to the patients themselves, the virus can pass into body fluids such as vomit, semen and urine. Therefore full attention should be paid to avoid contact with the medication. 

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Imlygic was approved by the FDA from a study of patients who had unresectable metastatic melanoma and have been receiving Imlygic. The results showed that approximately 16.3% of the patient’s lesion size decreased and lasting at least six months. However, the medication has not been approved for overall survival or for patients whose cancer has spread to other organs.

The medication is injected into the site of cancer. The second treatment should be around 3 weeks after the first and the subsequent treatments (from third treatment and so on) will be every 2 weeks. 

Common side effects that >20% of patients experience include fatigue, nausea, frequently urinating, fever, pain in the injection site and bladder problems that may result in blood in the urine. 

Precautions: because of the material contained in the drug there are precautions that patients and people surrounding patients should be aware of:

  • Exposure to the Imlygic- it is recommended that healthcare providers take full precaution to avoid accidental contact with the Imlygic injection sites, body fluids or dressings of the patient as it could lead to transmission of herpetic infection.  
  • Herpetic infection 
  • Complications at the injection site 
  • Immune-mediated events- For example, inflammation in the kidneys (glomerulonephritis), inflammation of lung tissue (pneumonitis) etc. 
  • Pregnant patients, friends, families of the patients and healthcare providers should avoid handling or coming in contact with the medication.

Go to: 10 ways to improve your chemotherapy success and reduce side-effects

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