Medically reviewed on September 5, 2018
Uses of Venetoclax:
- It is used to treat a type of leukemia.
- It is used to treat a type of lymphoma.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Venetoclax?
- If you have an allergy to venetoclax or any part of venetoclax.
- If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
- If you take any drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) that must not be taken with venetoclax, like certain drugs that are used for HIV, infections, or seizures. There are many drugs that must not be taken with venetoclax.
- If you are taking St. John's wort. Do not take St. John's wort with venetoclax. This medicine may not work as well.
- If you are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take venetoclax.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with venetoclax.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take venetoclax with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Venetoclax?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take venetoclax. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- Other drugs will be given with venetoclax to help avoid side effects.
- Low white blood cell counts have happened with venetoclax. This may lead to a higher chance of getting an infection. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection like fever, chills, or sore throat.
- You may have more chance of getting an infection. Wash hands often. Stay away from people with infections, colds, or flu.
- If you have upset stomach, throwing up, loose stools (diarrhea), or are not hungry, talk with your doctor. There may be ways to lower these side effects.
- If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), you will need to watch your blood sugar closely.
- Tell your doctor if you have signs of high or low blood sugar like breath that smells like fruit, dizziness, fast breathing, fast heartbeat, feeling confused, feeling sleepy, feeling weak, flushing, headache, more thirsty or hungry, passing urine more often, shaking, or sweating.
- Talk with your doctor if you have recently had a vaccine or before getting any vaccines. Vaccine use with venetoclax may either raise the chance of an infection or make the vaccine not work as well.
- Avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice, Seville oranges, and starfruit.
- If you are taking warfarin, talk with your doctor. You may need to have your blood work checked more closely while you are taking it with venetoclax.
- Some drugs may need to be taken at a different time than venetoclax. If you also take digoxin, everolimus, or sirolimus, take it at least 6 hours before you take venetoclax. There may also be other drugs as well. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to find out if your other drugs need to be taken at a different time than venetoclax.
- This medicine may affect being able to father a child. Talk with the doctor.
- This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant.
- If you are able to get pregnant, a pregnancy test will be done to show that you are NOT pregnant before starting venetoclax. Talk with your doctor.
- Use birth control that you can trust to prevent pregnancy while taking venetoclax and for 1 month after stopping venetoclax.
- If you get pregnant while taking venetoclax or within 1 month after your last dose, call your doctor right away.
How is this medicine (Venetoclax) best taken?
Use venetoclax as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Take with a meal.
- Swallow whole with a drink of water.
- Do not chew, break, or crush.
- Take venetoclax at the same time of day.
- Drink plenty of water when taking venetoclax unless told to drink less water by your doctor. Drink 6 to 8 glasses (about 56 ounces total) of water each day. Start doing this 2 days before your first dose. Talk with your doctor if you have questions.
- To gain the most benefit, do not miss doses.
- Keep taking venetoclax as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
- If you throw up after taking a dose, do not repeat the dose. Take your next dose at your normal time.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is has been more than 8 hours since the missed dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of bleeding like throwing up blood or throw up that looks like coffee grounds; coughing up blood; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; vaginal bleeding that is not normal; bruises without a reason or that get bigger; or any bleeding that is very bad or that you cannot stop.
- Signs of electrolyte problems like mood changes, confusion, muscle pain or weakness, a heartbeat that does not feel normal, seizures, not hungry, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
- Feeling very tired or weak.
- Pale skin.
- Swelling in the arms or legs.
- Shortness of breath.
- Cloudy or pink-red urine.
- Dark urine or yellow skin or eyes.
- Patients with cancer who take venetoclax may be at a greater risk of getting a bad health problem called tumor lysis syndrome (TLS). Sometimes, this has been deadly. Call your doctor right away if you have a fast heartbeat or a heartbeat that does not feel normal; any passing out; trouble passing urine; muscle weakness or cramps; upset stomach, throwing up, loose stools, or not able to eat; or feel sluggish.
What are some other side effects of Venetoclax?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Loose stools (diarrhea).
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Stomach pain.
- Hard stools (constipation).
- Signs of a common cold.
- Feeling tired or weak.
- Not able to sleep.
- Mouth sores.
- Muscle or joint pain.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Venetoclax?
- Store in the original container at room temperature.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
Consumer information use
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
- Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
- This medicine comes with an extra patient fact sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it with care. Read it again each time venetoclax is refilled. If you have any questions about venetoclax, please talk with the doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
More about venetoclax
- Venetoclax Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- En Español
- Drug class: miscellaneous antineoplastics
Other brands: Venclexta