Axitinib is a medicine used to treat a certain type of kidney cancer (advanced renal cell carcinoma) when other prior medications (e.g. sunitinib) has not been effective.
This medicine reduces the size of the tumour by stopping cancer cells from growing.
Take Axitinib exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
You may take this medicine with or without food. Swallow the tablet whole with a glass of water.
Try to take it at the same time each day.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the dosage and treatment timeframe depending on your condition and response to the medication.
Axitinib must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed by the doctor.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- recent bleeding in the digestive system (e.g. stomach or bowel)
- severe liver disease
- untreated brain tumour
as Axitinib may not be suitable for you.
Do not take this medicine if you are pregnant or planning to have a baby soon. If you become pregnant while being treated with this medicine, alert your doctor immediately. Axitinib may cause harm to your unborn child.
Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with this medicine.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- high blood pressure
- thyroid problems
- heart attack
- heart disease
- bleeding problems
- blood clots in your veins or arteries
- liver problems
- unhealed wound
It is important that you do not get pregnant or father a child while you are being treated with Axitinib. You and your partner must use proven birth control methods during the treatment and for at least 1 week after stopping the treatment. You may wish to discuss birth control methods with your doctor or pharmacist.
If you are going for an operation, including minor surgery and dental work, inform your doctor or dentist that you are taking Axitinib.
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Pregnancy tests may be done routinely to check the appropriateness of the treatment.
- Your blood pressure must be checked regularly as it may rise to unsafe levels.
- Your doctor may also need to do certain tests (e.g. blood tests, urine tests, tests for liver and thyroid function). Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have these tests.
Axitinib may cause dizziness. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.
Other side effects may include any of the following: diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, constipation, indigestion, stomach wind, decreased appetite, altered taste, mouth sore, tongue or throat irritation, headache, tiredness, feeling weak, lack of energy, muscle or joint pain, hair loss, skin rash, dry skin, redness and swelling of the palms of the hands or soles of the feet, and hoarseness or change in your voice.
Some side effects may be serious. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience:
- bleeding problems e.g. vomiting blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds, coughing up blood, black, red, or tarry stools, bleeding gums, abnormal vaginal bleeding, unusual bruising, or any severe or persistent bleeding
- signs of blood clots e.g. chest pain or pressure, numbness or weakness on one side of the body, pain in your arms, back, neck or jaw, shortness of breath, trouble talking, fast heartbeat
- severe chest pain
- severe stomach pain
- severe headache, confusion, fits or seizure, problems in your eyesight
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Do not take this medicine with the following medicines:
- certain antibiotics e.g. clarithromycin, telithromycin
- medicine to treat TB (infection known as tuberculosis) e.g. rifampicin
- medicines for fits or seizures e.g. phenytoin, carbamazepine, phenobarbital
- medicines to treat fungal infection e.g. ketoconazole, itraconazole, voriconazole
- medicines for HIV infection e.g. atazanavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, saquinavir, ritonavir
- medicines to treat depression e.g. nefazodone
- medicine for inflammation and other conditions such as allergies or skin disease e.g. dexamethasone
- St. John’s wort (herbal supplement)
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Axitinib.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Avoid excessive consumption (more than 1 litre a day) of grapefruit juice.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.
As this is a cancer medicine, always return any unused or expired tablets to the clinic, hospital or pharmacy for disposal. Do not throw it away in the household waste.