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Alectinib (Generic Name) Other Names: Alecensa®

UPMC Content 2

About this Drug

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

Possible Side Effects (More Common)

  • Tiredness
  • Constipation (not able to move bowels)
  • Muscle pain, tenderness or weakness. Your blood will be checked by your doctor.
  • Swelling of your legs, ankles, feet, and/or eyelids.
  • Electrolyte changes. Your blood will be checked for electrolyte changes as needed.
  • Increased total bilirubin in your blood. This may mean that you have changes in your liver function. Your blood work will be checked by your doctor.
  • Changes in your liver function. Your doctor will check your liver function as needed.
  • Sensitivity to light (photosensitivity). You may become more sensitive to the light from the sun, sun lamps, and tanning beds. Your eyes may water more, mostly in bright light.

Possible Side Effects (Less Common)

  • Rash
  • Slow heartbeat that may make your feel faint, dizzy or lightheaded. Your heart rate will be checked by your doctor.
  • Inflammation (swelling) of the lungs. You may have a dry cough or trouble breathing.
  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) that may last for a few days

Treating Side Effects

  • Wear dark sunglasses and use sunscreen with SPF 50 (specified in the package insert) or higher when you are outdoors even for a short time. Cover up when you are out in the sun. Wear wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts, and pants. Keep your neck, chest, and back covered. This can last 7 days after the final dose.
  • If you get a rash do not put anything on it unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep the area around the rash clean and dry. Ask your doctor for medicine if your rash bothers you.
  • Drink 6-8 cups of fluids each day unless your doctor has told you to limit your fluid intake due to some other health problem. A cup is 8 ounces of fluid. If you throw up or have loose bowel movements, you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated (lack of water in the body from losing too much fluid).
  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine that is available to help stop or lessen the loose bowel movements.
  • If you are not able to move your bowels, check with your doctor or nurse before you use enemas, laxatives, or suppositories

Important Information

  • Take this medicine with food.
  • Swallow the medicine whole. Do not chew, break, or crush it. 
  • Take this medicine at the same time each day.
  • Store this medicine in the original container at room temperature.
  • If you vomit or miss a dose, take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take 2 doses at the same time.

Food and Drug Interactions

There are no known interactions of alectinib with food. This drug may interact with other medications. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medication 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.

When to Call the Doctor

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

  • Wheezing or trouble breathing
  • Rash or itching
  • Pain when passing urine
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking
  • Signs of liver problems: dark urine, pale bowel movements, bad stomach pain, feeling very tired and weak, unusual itching, or yellowing of the eyes or skin

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

  • Decreased urine
  • Blurred vision or other changes in eyesight
  • Rash that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Swelling of legs, ankles, feet or around your eyes
  • Weight gain of 5 pounds in one week (fluid retention)
  • Fatigue that interferes with your daily activities
  • No bowel movement in 3 days or you feel uncomfortable
  • Extreme weakness that interferes with normal activities
  • Unexplained muscle pain, or muscle pain that does not go away, muscle tenderness or weakness

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 at least 3 months after treatment has been stopped if you are a male and for 1 week after treatment has been stopped if you are a female. Genetic counseling is available for you to talk about the effects of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. Also, a genetic counselor can look at the possible risk of problems in the unborn baby due to this medicine if an exposure happens during pregnancy.
  • Breast feeding warning: It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. Women should not breast feed during treatment and for at least 1 week after treatment has been stopped because this drug could enter the breast milk and cause harm to a breast feeding baby.

Updated January 2017