Palifermin is used to prevent and 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.

Side Effects Of Palifermin

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 the tongue
  • change in the 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:

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

Warnings & Precautions

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.

Dosage Of Palifermin

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.


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.


All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.