Generic Name: alectinib (al EK ti nib)
Brand Names: Alecensa
What is Alecensa?
Alecensa (alectinib) is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.
Alecensa is used to treat non-small cell lung cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Alecensa is usually given after another medicine has been tried without success.
Alecensa was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on an "accelerated" basis. In clinical studies, tumors responded to this medicine. However, further studies are needed to determine if this medicine can lengthen survival time.
Alecensa can cause serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have: severe dizziness, very slow heartbeats, new or worsening breathing problems, upper stomach pain, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Before taking this medicine
You should not use Alecensa if you are allergic to alectinib.
To make sure Alecensa is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
slow heartbeats or other heart rhythm disorder;
a personal or family history of Long QT syndrome;
kidney disease; or
a condition for which you take heart or blood pressure medicine.
Do not use Alecensa if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. Use effective birth control while you are using this medication and for at least 1 week after your last dose.
If you are a man, use effective birth control if your sexual partner is able to get pregnant. An unborn baby can be harmed if a man fathers the child while he is taking Alecensa. Keep using birth control for at least 3 months after your treatment ends.
Tell your doctor right away if a pregnancy occurs while either the mother or the father is taking Alecensa.
It is not known whether alectinib passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using Alecensa and for at least 1 week after your last dose.
How should I take Alecensa?
Alecensa is usually taken twice per day. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Before you start treatment, your doctor may perform tests to make sure Alecensa is the best treatment for your type of lung cancer.
Alecensa works best if you take it with food.
Do not crush, chew, dissolve, or open an Alecensa capsule. Swallow it whole.
If you vomit shortly after taking an Alecensa capsule, do not take another one. Wait until your next scheduled dose and take the regular amount of medicine at that time.
While using Alecensa, your heart rate and blood pressure will need to be checked often. You will also need frequent blood tests to check your liver function. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.
Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
Alecensa dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer:
600 mg orally twice a day
Duration of Therapy: Until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity
Comments: This drug should be taken with food.
Use: Treatment of patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive, metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have progressed on or are intolerant to crizotinib.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking Alecensa?
Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. Alecensa can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen and lip balm (SPF 50 or higher) when you are outdoors.
Alecensa side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Alecensa: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
a very slow heart rate;
a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness;
sudden chest pain or discomfort, wheezing, dry cough or cough with mucus, feeling short of breath; or
liver problems - nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Common Alecensa side effects may include:
swelling in your hands or feet;
tired feeling; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Alecensa?
Other drugs may interact with alectinib, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
More about Alecensa (alectinib)
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about Alecensa.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Alecensa only for the indication prescribed.
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