Generic Name: sunitinib (soo NIT in ib)Brand Names: Sutent
Sunitinib is a cancer medicine that helps the body slow down the growth and reproduction of certain cells, including tumor cells.
Sunitinib is used to treat certain types of advanced or progressive tumors of the digestive system or the kidneys.
Sunitinib may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Before using sunitinib, tell your doctor if you have high blood pressure, a thyroid disorder, a heart rhythm disorder, or if you have ever had a heart attack, congestive heart failure, a stroke, or blood clots.
To be sure this medication is helping your condition and is not causing certain side effects, your blood and blood pressure may need to be tested at the beginning of each 4-week treatment cycle. Your heart function may also need to be tested with an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) on a regular basis. It is important that you not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.Stop using sunitinib and call your doctor at once if you have chest pain, shortness of breath, sudden numbness or weakness, sudden headache or vision problems, or any unusual bruising or bleeding.What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using Sutent (sunitinib)?You should not use this medication if you are allergic to it.
If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use this medication:
high blood pressure;
a thyroid disorder;
a heart rhythm disorder;
a personal or family history of "Long QT syndrome";
a history of heart attack or congestive heart failure; or
a history of stroke, blood clots, coronary artery disease, bypass graft surgery, or transient ischemic attack (TIA).
If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use sunitinib or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.FDA pregnancy category D: This medication can cause harm to an unborn baby. Do not use sunitinib if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. Use an effective form of birth control while you are using this medication. It is not known if sunitinib passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from this medication.
Sunitinib is usually taken once every day for 4 weeks, followed by 2 weeks off the drug. Your doctor will determine how many complete treatment cycles you need based on your condition.
Sunitinib may be taken with or without food.
To be sure this medication is helping your condition and is not causing certain side effects, your blood and blood pressure may need to be tested at the beginning of each 4-week treatment cycle. Your heart function may also need to be tested with an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) on a regular basis. It is important that you not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.Store sunitinib at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
See also: Sutent dosage in more detail
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
Symptoms of a sunitinib overdose may include muscle weakness, shaking or chills, and stomach pain.
Avoid taking an herbal supplement containing St. John's wort at the same time you are taking sunitinib.
chest pain, general ill feeling;
uneven heart rate;
feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion;
swelling of your ankles or feet;
weakness, tired feeling, loss of appetite, weight loss;
sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body;
sudden headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance;
redness, tenderness, sunburn-like peeling of the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet;
bloody, or black, tarry stools;
coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;
easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness; or
white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips.
Less serious side effects may include:
unusual or unpleasant taste in the mouth;
nausea, vomiting, stomach pain or upset;
diarrhea or constipation;
skin rash, hair loss, changes in skin or hair color; or
headache, joint or muscle pain.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Tell your doctor about all other medications you are using, especially:
ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), voriconazole (VFend);
dexamethasone (Decadron, Dexacort);
seizure medicines such as carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol), phenytoin (Dilantin), or phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton);
rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane), rifabutin (Mycobutin), rifapentin (Priftin);
clarithromycin (Biaxin), telithromycin (Ketek); or
HIV medicines such as atazanavir (Reyataz), indinavir (Crixivan), nelfinavir (Viracept), ritonavir (Norvir), saquinavir (Invirase, Fortovase).
This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with sunitinib. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.