Medically reviewed on September 3, 2018
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antineoplastic Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor
Uses For ceritinib
Ceritinib is used to treat metastatic (cancer that has already spread) non-small cell lung cancer in patients who have a certain type of abnormal anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene. It is used in patients who have already received crizotinib, but their condition got worse or the medicine was not tolerated. Ceritinib is an antineoplastic (cancer) agent. It interferes with the growth of cancer cells, which are eventually destroyed by the body.
Ceritinib is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before Using ceritinib
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 ceritinib, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to ceritinib 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 ceritinib 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 ceritinib 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. When you are taking ceritinib, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using ceritinib with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Azilsartan Medoxomil
- Brentuximab Vedotin
- Doxorubicin Hydrochloride Liposome
- Eslicarbazepine Acetate
- Ethinyl Estradiol
- St John's Wort
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. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using ceritinib with any of the following is usually not recommended, but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use ceritinib, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.
- Grapefruit Juice
Other Medical Problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of ceritinib. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Bradycardia (slow heartbeat) or
- Congenital long QT syndrome (heart rhythm problem) or
- Congestive heart failure or
- Electrolyte or mineral imbalance or
- QT prolongation (abnormal heart rhythm)—Use with caution. May cause side effects to become worse.
- Diabetes or
- Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) or
- Lung disease or breathing problems (eg, interstitial lung disease, pneumonitis)—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Liver disease—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.
Proper Use of ceritinib
Take ceritinib 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.
Ceritinib comes with a patient information leaflet. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.
Swallow the capsule whole. Do not crush, break, chew, or open it.
Take ceritinib with food.
Do not use grapefruit products while you are using ceritinib. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may change the amount of medicine that is absorbed in the body.
The dose of ceritinib 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 ceritinib. 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 treatment of non-small cell lung cancer:
- Adults—450 milligrams (mg) once a day.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For treatment of non-small cell lung cancer:
If you miss a dose of ceritinib, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
If you miss a dose and it is less than 12 hours until your next regular dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time.
If you miss a dose and it is more than 12 hours until your next regular dose, take the missed dose as soon as possible, and then go back to your regular schedule.
If you vomit after taking a dose, take the 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 ceritinib
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure ceritinib is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Using ceritinib 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. Female patients should use effective birth control during treatment and for at least 6 months after the last dose. Male patients who have female partners should use effective birth control during treatment and for at least 3 months after the last dose. If you think you have become pregnant while using ceritinib, tell your doctor right away.
Cancer medicines can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain in most people, sometimes even after receiving medicines to prevent it. Ask your doctor or nurse about other ways to control these unwanted effects.
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.
Ceritinib 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 the symptoms of lung cancer. Check with your doctor right away if you have new or worsening cough, fever, or trouble breathing.
Contact your doctor right away if you have any changes to your heart rhythm. You might feel dizzy or faint, or you might have a slow, fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat. Make sure your doctor knows if you had a heart rhythm problem, such as QT prolongation.
Ceritinib may increase your blood sugar levels. Check with your doctor right away if you have the following symptoms: confusion, nausea, vomiting, increased hunger, thirst or urination, or unusual tiredness or weakness.
Pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas) may occur while you are using ceritinib. Check with your doctor right away if you have loss of appetite, nausea, or pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal (eg, St. John's wort) or vitamin supplements.
Ceritinib 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:
- Blurred vision
- burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
- clay-colored stools
- dark urine
- decreased appetite
- dry mouth
- flushed, dry skin
- fruit-like breath odor
- increased hunger
- increased thirst
- increased urination
- loss of appetite
- skin rash or itching
- stomach pain or tenderness
- swelling of the feet or lower legs
- troubled breathing
- unexplained weight loss
- unsteadiness or awkwardness
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- weakness in the arms, hands, legs, or feet
- yellow eyes or skin
- Chest pain
- general feeling of discomfort or illness
- irregular heartbeat, recurrent
- thickening of bronchial secretions
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:
- Blurred vision or other changes in vision
- decreased appetite
- difficulty having a bowel movement
- pain or discomfort in the chest, upper stomach, or throat
- seeing flashes or sparks of light
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.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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More about ceritinib
- Ceritinib Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
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- Drug class: multikinase inhibitors
Other brands: Zykadia