Skip to Content


Generic Name: ceritinib (se RI ti nib)
Brand Names: Zykadia

Medically reviewed on July 10, 2017.

What is Zykadia?

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

Zykadia is used to treat non-small cell lung cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

Zykadia is used only if your tumor has a specific genetic marker, for which your doctor will test.

Important information

Zykadia can harm an unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine and for several months after your last dose, whether you are a man or a woman. Ceritinib use by either parent may cause birth defects.

Zykadia can cause liver problems. Call your doctor right away if you have right-sided-stomach pain, nausea, loss of appetite, unusual tiredness, easy bruising or bleeding, dark urine, or yellowing of the skin or eyes.

Zykadia can also cause lung or heart problems. Call your doctor right away if you have chest pain, dizziness, irregular heartbeats, trouble breathing, cough, fever, or if you feel light-headed.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Zykadia if you are allergic to ceritinib.

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

  • heart disease, a heart rhythm disorder, or long QT syndrome;

  • an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood);

  • a pancreas disorder;

  • diabetes or high blood sugar; or

  • liver disease.

Zykadia can harm an unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine, whether you are a man or a woman. Men should use condoms. Ceritinib use by either parent may cause birth defects.

If you are a woman, keep using birth control for at least 6 months after your last dose of Zykadia. If you are a man, keep using condoms for at least 3 months after your last dose. Tell your doctor right away if a pregnancy occurs while either the mother or the father is using Zykadia.

It is not known whether ceritinib 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 2 weeks after your last dose.

How should I take Zykadia?

Zykadia is usually taken once per day. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Take Zykadia on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal.

You may be given medication to prevent nausea or vomiting while you are receiving Zykadia.

If you vomit shortly after taking Zykadia, do not take another dose. Stay on your regular schedule.

You may need frequent medical tests to be sure this medicine is not causing harmful effects. If you have heart disease, your heart function may need to be checked using an electrocardiograph or ECG (sometimes called an EKG). Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Zykadia dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer:

750 mg orally once daily on an empty stomach.

Duration of therapy: Until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity

-If a dose is missed, make it up unless it is 12 hours or less until the next dose.
-Discontinue in patients unable to tolerate 300 mg a day.
-An improvement in survival or disease-related symptoms has not been established

Use: Treatment of patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have progressed on or are intolerant to crizotinib.

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 your next dose is less than 12 hours away. 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 Zykadia?

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

Zykadia side effects

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

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • slow heartbeats, weak pulse, weak or shallow breathing;

  • headache with chest pain and severe dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeats;

  • severe diarrhea;

  • severe stomach pain, ongoing nausea or vomiting;

  • sudden chest pain or discomfort, fever, dry cough or cough with mucus, feeling short of breath;

  • easy bruising or bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums);

  • signs of pancreatitis - severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate;

  • liver problems - right-sided-stomach pain, nausea, loss of appetite, unusual tiredness, easy bruising or bleeding, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or

  • high blood sugar - increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, fruity breath odor, headaches, thinking problems, blurred vision, feeling tired.

Zykadia usually causes side effects on your stomach (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain) that can be severe. Call your doctor if you have severe or ongoing stomach symptoms.

Common Zykadia side effects may include:

  • stomach pain, loss of appetite;

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;

  • feeling tired; or

  • weight loss.

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 Zykadia?

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.

Many drugs can interact with ceritinib. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

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

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