Generic Name: alectinib (al EK ti nib)
Brand Name: Alecensa
What is alectinib?
Alectinib is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.
Alectinib is used to treat non-small cell lung cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Alectinib is usually given after another medicine has been tried without success.
Alectinib 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.
Alectinib may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about alectinib?
Alectinib 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).
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking alectinib?
You should not use alectinib if you are allergic to it.
To make sure alectinib 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 alectinib 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 alectinib. 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 alectinib.
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 alectinib and for at least 1 week after your last dose.
How should I take alectinib?
Before you start treatment, your doctor may perform tests to make sure alectinib is the best treatment for your type of lung cancer.
Alectinib 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.
Alectinib works best if you take it with food.
Do not crush, chew, dissolve, or open an alectinib capsule. Swallow it whole.
If you vomit shortly after taking an alectinib capsule, do not take another one. Wait until your next scheduled dose and take the regular amount of medicine at that time.
While using alectinib, 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.
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 alectinib?
Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. Alectinib can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen and lip balm (SPF 50 or higher) when you are outdoors.
Alectinib side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: 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 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 alectinib?
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 alectinib.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.01.
Last reviewed: January 14, 2016
Date modified: January 10, 2017