Generic Name: alectinib (al-EK-ti-nib) (Oral route)
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on June 7, 2020.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antineoplastic Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor
Uses for Alecensa
Alectinib is used to treat metastatic (cancer that has already spread) non-small cell lung cancer in patients who have an abnormal anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene. It is used in patients who have already received other medicines that did not work well. Your doctor will use a special test to look for this mutation.
Alectinib interferes with the growth of cancer cells which are then destroyed by the body. It is an antineoplastic agent (cancer medicine).
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using Alecensa
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of alectinib in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of alectinib in the elderly.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Bradycardia (slow heart beat) or
- Breathing problems or
- Interstitial lung disease, history of or
- Kidney disease, severe or end-stage or
- Liver disease, moderate or severe or
- Lung disease, history of or
- Myalgia (muscle pain) or
- Pneumonitis (lung inflammation), history of—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
Proper use of Alecensa
Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
Take this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. To do so may increase the chance of side effects.
This medicine should come with a patient information leaflet. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.
Take this medicine with food.
Swallow the capsule whole. Do not open, crush, or chew it.
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For oral dosage form (capsules):
- For lung cancer:
- Adults—At first, 600 milligrams (mg) two times a day. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed and tolerated.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For lung cancer:
If you miss a dose of this medicine, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
If you vomit after taking this medicine, do not take an extra dose. Take your next dose at the regular time.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Precautions while using Alecensa
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. It may also cause birth defects if the father is using it when his sexual partner becomes pregnant. Women should use effective birth control during treatment with this medicine and for at least 1 week after the last dose. Men with sexual partners should use effective birth control during treatment and for at least 3 months after the last dose. If you think a pregnancy has occurred with this medicine, tell your doctor right away.
Check with your doctor right away if you have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach, pale stools, dark urine, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.
This medicine may cause swelling of the lungs (pneumonitis) or interstitial lung disease. These are life-threatening conditions and require immediate medical attention. The symptoms may be similar to those for lung cancer. Check with your doctor right away if you have a new or worsening cough, fever, shortness of breath, or trouble breathing.
Check with your doctor right away if you have bloody urine, a decrease in frequency or amount of urine, an increase in blood pressure, increased thirst, loss of appetite, lower back or side pain, nausea, swelling of the face, fingers, or lower legs, troubled breathing, unusual tiredness or weakness, vomiting, or weight gain. These could be symptoms of a serious kidney problem.
Bradycardia (slow heartbeat) may occur while you are using this medicine. Tell your doctor right away if you have chest pain or discomfort, lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting, or a slow or uneven heartbeat.
Tell your doctor right away if you have unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness after taking this medicine. These may be symptoms of a serious muscle problem.
This medicine may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Use a sunscreen and protective clothing when you are outdoors. Avoid sunlamps and tanning beds.
Alecensa side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Bloody urine
- chest pain or discomfort
- decreased frequency or amount of urine
- difficulty with moving
- increased blood pressure
- increased thirst
- joint pain or swelling
- loss of appetite
- lower back or side pain
- lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
- muscle aching or cramping
- muscle pains or stiffness
- slow or irregular heartbeat
- swelling of the face, fingers, or lower legs
- troubled breathing
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- weight gain
- Clay-colored stools
- dark urine
- decreased appetite
- itching or skin rash
- stomach pain or tenderness
- yellow eyes or skin
- Difficulty breathing
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Back pain
- bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
- blurred vision
- difficulty having a bowel movement
- double vision
- lack or loss of strength
- rapid weight gain
- rash with flat lesions or small raised lesions on the skin
- seeing double
- seeing floating dark spots or material before the eyes
- swelling around the eyes
- tingling of the hands or feet
- unusual weight gain or loss
- vision changes
- Change in taste
- loss of taste
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Frequently asked questions
- How effective is it for ALK-positive NSCLC?
- How does it work?
- How long do you take it for?
- What is Alecensa used to treat?
More about Alecensa (alectinib)
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Patient Tips
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- 1 Review
- Drug class: multikinase inhibitors
- FDA Approval History
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