Generic Name: alectinib (al EK ti nib)
Brand Name: Alecensa
Medically reviewed: November 9, 2017
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 a certain type of non-small cell lung cancer caused by an abnormal gene, when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
Alectinib may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Alectinib can cause serious or life-threatening side effects.
Call your doctor right away if you have: heart problems--severe dizziness, very slow heartbeats; lung problems--fever, chest pain, cough, trouble breathing; kidney problems--a change in your urine color, little or no urination, swelling in your lower legs; or liver problems--upper stomach pain, dark urine, loss of appetite, yellowing of the skin or eyes.
Before taking this medicine
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:
lung or breathing problems other than lung cancer;
kidney disease; or
slow heartbeats or other heart rhythm disorder.
Do not use alectinib if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine 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 will perform a special test to make sure alectinib is the best treatment for your type of lung cancer.
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Alectinib is usually taken twice per day.
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?
Skip the missed dose and take the next regularly scheduled dose. Do not use 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 during treatment and for at least 7 days after your last dose of alectinib. This medicine 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;
lung problems--sudden chest pain or discomfort, wheezing, dry cough or cough with mucus, feeling short of breath;
low red blood cells (anemia)--pale skin, unusual tiredness, feeling light-headed or short of breath, cold hands and feet;
kidney problems--a change in your urine color, little or no urination, swelling in your feet or ankles; or
liver problems--stomach pain (upper right side), loss of appetite, easy bruising or bleeding, feeling tired, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Your cancer treatments may be delayed or permanently discontinued if you have certain side effects.
Common side effects may include:
swelling in your face, eyelids, hands, or lower legs;
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 your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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- Drug class: multikinase inhibitors