Skip to Content


Generic Name: abemaciclib (a BEM a SYE klib)
Brand Names: Verzenio

Medically reviewed on March 4, 2018

What is Verzenio?

See also: Kisqali

Verzenio (abemaciclib) is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Verzenio is used to treat advanced hormone-related breast cancer.

Verzenio is used for this condition only if your tumor tests negative for a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). HER2 protein can speed the growth of cancer cells.

Verzenio is used when the cancer has progressed or has spread to other parts of the body after treatment with anti-estrogen medication or other chemotherapy.

When used in women, Verzenio is given with another medicine called fulvestrant.

Important Information

Verzenio can cause severe diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration or infection. Call your doctor right away if you have diarrhea. Drink extra fluids and start taking anti-diarrhea medicine such as loperamide (Imodium).

Verzenio can cause blood clots, liver problems, or serious and sometimes fatal infections. Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms such as: fever, chills, easy bruising or bleeding, unusual tiredness, loss of appetite, right-sided upper stomach pain, chest pain, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, fast heartbeats, or pain or swelling in your arms or legs.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Verzenio if you are allergic to abemaciclib.

To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • a fever, chills, or other signs of infection; or

  • liver or kidney disease.

You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before starting this treatment.

Using Verzenio during pregnancy could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine and for at least 3 weeks after your treatment ends. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant during this time.

It is not known whether abemaciclib passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine and for at least 3 weeks after your last dose.

How should I take Verzenio?

Take Verzenio exactly as prescribed by your doctor. 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.

You may take Verzenio with or without food.

Take the medicine at the same time each day.

Do not crush, chew, or break the tablet. Swallow the tablet whole.

If you vomit shortly after taking Verzenio, do not take another dose. Wait until your next scheduled dose time to take the medicine again.

Drink plenty of liquids while you are taking this medicine.

Verzenio can cause severe diarrhea, which can be life-threatening if it leads to dehydration or infection.

If you have diarrhea while taking Verzenio: start taking anti-diarrhea medicine such as loperamide (Imodium) to quickly treat diarrhea. Drink extra fluids and call your doctor.

Abemaciclib can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. Your blood will need to be tested often. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Verzenio dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Breast Cancer:

-As Combination Therapy: 150 mg orally twice a day
-As Monotherapy: 200 mg orally twice a day
-Duration of Therapy: Until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity

-If using this drug in combination with fulvestrant on pre/perimenopausal women, treat these patients with a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist according to current clinical practice standards.
-When used in combination with this drug, the recommended dose of fulvestrant is 500 mg on Days 1, 15, and 29, then once monthly thereafter; refer to the manufacturer product information for fulvestrant.

Use: Treatment of hormone receptor (HR)-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer:
-as combination therapy with fulvestrant in adult women with disease progression following endocrine therapy OR
-as monotherapy in adult patients with disease progression following endocrine therapy AND prior chemotherapy in the metastatic setting

See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)

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 Verzenio?

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with abemaciclib and lead to unwanted side effects. Avoid the use of grapefruit products while taking abemaciclib.

Verzenio side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Verzenio: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe or ongoing diarrhea;

  • pain or burning when you urinate;

  • liver problems - right-sided upper stomach pain, loss of appetite, easy bruising or bleeding, feeling very tired; or

  • low blood cell counts - fever, chills, flu-like symptoms, cough with mucus, mouth sores, skin sores, pale skin, cold hands and feet, feeling light-headed or short of breath.

Your cancer treatments may be delayed or permanently discontinued if you have certain side effects.

Common Verzenio side effects may include:

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 Verzenio?

Sometimes it is not safe to use certain medications at the same time. Some drugs can affect your blood levels of other drugs you take, which may increase side effects or make the medications less effective.

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with abemaciclib, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Verzenio only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.