Axitinib (Generic Name)

Other Names: Inlyta®

About This Drug

Axitinib is used to treat cancer. It is given by mouth (orally).

Possible Side Effects (More Common)

  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Hand-and-foot syndrome: The palms of your hands or soles of your feet may tingle, become numb, painful, swollen, or red.
  • Shortness of breath and or cough
  • Bone marrow depression: This is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This may increase your risk of infection, fatigue, and bleeding.
  • Sore mouth and throat
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Taste changes
  • Weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Voice changes
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Increased blood sugar
  • Decrease in thyroid gland function
  • Changes in how your kidneys work. Your kidney function will be monitored as needed. You may have protein in your urine.
  • Electrolyte changes: Your blood will be checked for electrolyte changes as needed.

Possible Side Effects (Less Common)

  • Blood clots: A blood clot in your leg may cause your leg to swell, appear red and warm, and/or cause pain. A blood clot in your lungs may cause shortness of breath, pain when breathing, and/or chest pain.
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Hair loss. You may notice hair thinning. Some patients lose their hair. Your hair usually grows back when treatment is completed.
  • Muscle aches
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Blood in the urine
  • Nose bleeds

Reproduction Concerns

  • Pregnancy warning: This drug may have harmful effects on the unborn child, so effective methods of birth control should be used during your cancer treatment and for 6 months after you finish treatment with axitinib. Notify your doctor if you become pregnant while you are taking this drug.
  • Genetic counseling is available to you to discuss the effects of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. In addition, a genetic counselor can review the potential risks of problems in the fetus due to this medication if an exposure during pregnancy has occurred.
  • Breast-feeding warning: It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. For this reason, women are advised to discuss with their doctor the risks and benefits of breast-feeding during treatment with this drug because this drug may enter the breast milk and seriously harm a breast-feeding infant.

Treating Side Effects

  • Drink 6 to 8 cups of fluid every day, unless your doctor has told you to restrict your fluid intake. A cup is 8 ounces of fluid. If you vomit or have diarrhea, you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine to help prevent or lessen nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and/or headache.
  • Mouth care is very important. Your mouth care should consist of regular, gentle cleaning of your teeth or dentures, and rinsing your mouth with a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water or 1/2 teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) in 8 ounces of water. This should be done at least after every meal and at bedtime.
  • If you have mouth sores, avoid mouthwash that contains alcohol. Avoid alcohol and smoking because they can irritate your mouth and throat.
  • Do not put anything on your rash, unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep the area around the rash clean and dry. Ask your doctor or nurse to recommend a product for dry skin.
  • Speak with your nurse about obtaining a wig before you lose your hair.  Also, call the American Cancer Society at 800-ACS-2345  to find out information  about the “ Look Good, Feel Better” program close to where you live. It is a free program where women undergoing chemotherapy learn about wigs, turbans and scarves as well as makeup techniques and skin and nail care.
  • If you have a nose bleed, sit with your head tipped slightly forward. Apply pressure by lightly pinching the bridge of your nose between your thumb and forefinger. Call your doctor if you feel dizzy or faint or if the bleeding doesn’t stop after 10 to 15 minutes.

Food and Drug Interactions

This drug may interact with other medications. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medications and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs, and others) that you are currently taking. The safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often unknown. Using these might unexpectedly affect your cancer or interfere with your treatment. Until more is known, you should not use dietary supplements or alternative diets without your cancer doctor’s advice.

Important Information

  • Avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice while taking this medication.
  • Swallow tablet whole with a glass of water.
  • May be taken with or without food. If you have nausea, take with food.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse immediately if you have any of the following:

  • Fever of 100.5°F (38.0°C) or above
  • Chills
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Dizziness
  • Rash or itching
  • Uncontrolled nausea or vomiting that prevents you from eating or drinking.
  • Redness and pain on the palms of the hands and/or soles of the feet.
  • Blood in the urine
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling and/or pain in an arm or leg.

Call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Muscle pain or weakness
  • Nose bleeds
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Extreme weakness that interferes with normal activities.
  • Sores in the mouth
New January 2013

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