Ixabepilone (Ixempra) is a microtubule inhibitor chemotherapy medicine used to treat metastatic and locally advanced breast cancer that grew despite treatment with other anti-cancer agents.

How ixabepilone works

Ixabepilone stops the growth of cancer cells by targeting a protein called tubulin that helps cells multiply.

Who gets ixabepilone

Ixabepilone is FDA approved to be used alone or with capecitabine (Xeloda) to treat locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer. It is used to treat cancers that have grown despite treatment with other chemotherapy, including anthracyclines and taxanes.

Ixabepilone may be used in all types of breast cancer, including triple-negative metastatic breast cancer.

How ixabepilone is given

Ixabepilone is given by vein through an IV, either alone or with the chemotherapy medicine capecitabine, once every 3 weeks. Because ixabepilone can cause an allergic reaction, you will be given steroid medicines right before treatment to prevent a reaction.

You and your doctor will discuss how many cycles you will have.

Side effects and things to remember

Common side effects include:

Other side effects include:

Your doctor will check how well your liver is working before and during treatment. If you have liver problems, you may not be able to take ixabepilone with capecitabine.

Before starting ixabepilone, tell your doctor about any medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbal supplements and over-the- counter medicines. Also tell your providers about all your medical conditions including liver problems, heart problems, diabetes and neuropathy (numbness in your hands and feet).

Do not drink grapefruit juice while you are on ixabepilone. It can cause you to have too much of the medicine in your blood and lead to side effects.

You should avoid becoming pregnant while you are receiving ixabepilone. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant or may be pregnant while you are undergoing treatment.

Your doctor, pharmacist or nurse can help you manage your side effects. You can also go to our section on Side Effects for more information.



Reviewed and updated: August 31, 2015

Reviewed by: Adrienne Gropper Waks, MD


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