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Crizotinib (Generic Name)

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About this drug

Crizotinib is used to treat cancer. It is given by mouth.

Possible side effects (most common)

  • Vision problems.  These usually happen within 2 weeks of starting crizotinib. Tell your doctor right away if you have any change in vision such as flashes of light, blurred vision, or light hurting your eyes.
  • Nausea and throwing up (vomiting). These symptoms may happen within a few hours after your treatment and may last up to 24 hours. Medicines are available to stop or lessen these side effects.
  • Constipation (not able to move bowels)
  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) that may last for a few days
  • Swelling of your legs, ankles and/or feet

Possible side effects (serious)

  • Inflammation (swelling) of the lungs. You may have a dry cough or trouble breathing.
  • Changes in liver function.  Your doctor will check your liver function as needed. 
  • Changes in your heart beat. You may have a very fast or abnormal heartbeat. Your doctor will check your heart during treatment as needed. Tell your doctor right away if you feel like your heart is not beating normal, feel dizzy, or pass out.

Treating side effects

  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine to help stop or lessen constipation or 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.
  • 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 water in the body due to losing too much fluid).

Important information

  • You can take crizotinib with or without food.  If you have nausea, take it with food.
  • Swallow the medicine whole.  Do not chew, break or crush it.
  • Missed dose: If you miss a dose take it as soon as you remember.  If it is close to your next dose (within 6 hours) just take your next dose at your normal time.

Food and drug interactions

  • There are known interactions of crizotinib with grapefruit juice.  Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice. 
  • Crizotinib may interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs, and others) that you are taking at this time. The safety and use of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often not known. Using these might 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 help.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse right away if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Wheezing or trouble breathing
  • Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or higher
  • Chills
  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) more than 4 times a day or diarrhea with weakness or feeling lightheaded
  • Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking
  • Throwing up more than 3 times a day
  • Any change in vision such as flashes of light, blurred vision, or if the light hurts your eyes
  • 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
  • Feeling that your heart is beating in a fast or not normal way (palpitations)
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Headache that does not go away

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

  • Nausea, throwing up, loose bowel movements (diarrhea), or constipation that does not go away with prescribed medicines.
  • Fatigue that interferes with your daily activities

Sexual problems and reproduction concerns

  • Infertility Warning: Sexual problems and reproduction concerns may happen. In both men and women, this drug may affect your ability to have children. This cannot be determined before your treatment. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children.  Ask for information on sperm or egg banking. 
    • In men, this drug may interfere with your ability to make sperm, but it should not change your ability to have sexual relations. 
    •  In women, menstrual bleeding may become irregular or stop while you are getting this drug. Do not assume that you cannot become pregnant if you do not have a menstrual period.
    • Women may go through signs of menopause (change of life) like vaginal dryness or itching. Vaginal lubricants can be used to lessen vaginal dryness, itching, and pain during sexual relations.
    • 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.
  • Pregnancy Warning: This drug may have harmful effects on the unborn baby, so effective methods of birth control should be used by you and your partner during your cancer treatment and for at least 3 months after treatment is done.
  • Breastfeeding Warning: It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk.  For this reason, women should talk to their doctor about the risks and benefits of breast feeding during treatment with this drug because this drug may enter the breast milk and badly harm a breast feeding baby.

Revised August 2014