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Also part of the UPMC family:

Vismodegib (Generic Name)

UPMC Content 2

About This Drug

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

Possible Side Effects (More Common)

  • Nausea and throwing up (vomiting)
  • Decreased appetite (decreased hunger)
  • Changes in the way food and drinks taste
  • Constipation (not able to move bowels)
  • Diarrhea (loose bowel movements)
  • Muscle pain or spasms
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue/Tiredness
  • Hair loss
  • Irregular menstrual periods.

Possible Side Effects (Less Common)

  • Infection
  • Electrolyte changes.  Your blood will be checked for electrolyte changes as needed.
  • Abnormal heart beat called atrial fibrillation. You may feel your heart beating fast.
  • Changes in how your kidneys work. Your kidney function will be checked as needed.
  • Corneal abrasion. Your eyes may feel dry, irritated, and painful.
  • Urinary tract infection (bladder infection). Symptoms may include:
    • pain or burning when you pass urine
    • feeling like you have to pass urine often, but not much comes out when you do.
    • tender or heavy feeling in your lower abdomen
    • cloudy urine and/or urine  that smells bad.
    • pain on one side of your back under your ribs (this is where your kidneys are)
    • fever, chills, nausea, and/or throwing up

Treating Side Effects

  • Drink 6 to 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 from losing too much fluid).
  • If you get symptoms of a bladder infection, please call your doctor or nurse right away. You may be given antibiotics to treat the infection and/or medicines to help the symptoms.
  • If you are not able to move your bowels, check with your doctor or nurse before you use enemas, laxatives, or suppositories.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse for medicine to prevent or lessen your nausea, constipation, pain, muscle spasms, or dry eyes.
  • Talk with your nurse about getting 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 getting chemotherapy can learn about wigs, turbans and scarves as well as makeup techniques and skin and nail care.

Food and Drug Interactions

There are no known interactions of vismodegib with food. This drug 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.

Important Information

  • Talk with your doctor before you take antacids.
  • Swallow the capsule whole. Do not open or crush it.
  • You can take this medicine with or without food. If you have nausea, take it with food.
  • Missed dose: If you miss a dose of Vismodegib, do not take the missed dose at all and do not double the next dose.  Instead, continue with your regular dosing schedule and contact your physician.
  • Do not donate blood while you are taking this drug and for seven months after you finish taking this drug.

When to Call the Doctor

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

  • Chest pain
  • Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or higher
  • Chills
  • Heart racing
  • Trouble breathing or feeling short of breath.
  • Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking.
  • Throwing up (vomiting) more than 3 times in one day.
  • Pain in your eye(s), blurred vision or other changes in eyesight

Call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if any of these happen:

  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) 4  times in one day or diarrhea with weakness or feeling lightheaded
  • Extreme fatigue that interferes with normal activities.
  • Pain or spasms that are not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • No bowel movement in 3 days or when you feel uncomfortable.

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.
  • 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.  For this reason, women should not breast feed during treatment because this drug could enter the breast milk and badly harm a breast feeding baby.

Revised November 2014