Alecensa : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More

Why is this medication prescribed?

Alecensa (Alectinib) is used to treat a certain type of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has spread to other parts of the body. Alecensa is in a class of medications called kinase inhibitors. It works by blocking the action of an abnormal protein that signals cancer cells to multiply. This helps slow or stop the spread of cancer cells.

How should this medicine be used?

Alecensa (Alectinib) comes as capsules to take by mouth. It is usually taken with food twice a day. Take Alecensa at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any parts you do not understand. Take Alecensa exactly as directed. Do not take more or less, or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Swallow the capsules whole; do not open or dissolve them.

If you vomit after taking Alecensa, do not take another dose right away. Continue with your usual dosing schedule.

Your doctor may temporarily or permanently stop your treatment or lower your dose if you experience certain side effects of Alecensa. Tell your doctor how you feel during your treatment. Keep taking Alecensa even if you feel fine. Do not stop taking Alecensa without consulting your doctor.

Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.

Other uses for this medicine

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking Alecensa,

  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to Alecensa, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in Alecensa capsules. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: medicines to treat high blood pressure or heart problems. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you closely for side effects.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had liver disease, lung or breathing problems, or slow or irregular heartbeats.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, or if you plan to have a child. You should not become pregnant while taking Alecensa. If you are a woman, you must use reliable birth control while taking Alecensa and for at least 1 week after your final dose. If you are a man, you and your female partner must use effective birth control while you are taking Alecensa and for 3 months after your final dose. If you or your partner become pregnant while taking Alecensa, call your doctor immediately. Alecensa can harm the fetus.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding. You should not breastfeed while taking Alecensa and for 1 week after your last dose.
  • Plan to avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to sunlight (including sunlamps and tanning beds) and wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and a sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 50 while taking Alecensa and during at least 7 days after your last dose. Alecensa can make your skin sensitive to sunlight.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Alecensa may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • swelling in your hands, face, or eyelids
  • headache
  • weight gain
  • rash

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS section, call your doctor immediately:

  • new or worsening shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or cough
  • fever
  • sudden chest pain
  • dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting
  • vision changes
  • sudden muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness
  • back pain
  • tiredness
  • rash
  • itchy skin
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • yellowing of skin or the whites of your eyes
  • pain on the right side of your stomach area
  • change in the amount or color of your urine
  • new or worsening swelling in your legs or feet
  • bleeding or bruising more easily than normal

Alecensa can cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medicine.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor can submit a report online to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Keep this medicine in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of the reach of children. Store at room temperature and away from light, excess heat, and moisture (not in the bathroom).

Unnecessary medications must be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and others cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medicine down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medications is through a drug take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage / recycling department to find out about take-back programs in your community. Check out the FDA drug safe disposal website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.

It is important to keep all medicines out of the sight and reach of children, since many containers (such as those containing weekly pills and those for eye drops, creams, patches and inhalers) are not child-resistant and small children can easily open them. To protect young children from poisoning, always close the safety caps and immediately place the medicine in a safe place, one that is upright and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim collapsed, had a seizure, is having trouble breathing, or is unable to wake up, immediately call 911 for emergency services.

What other information should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will monitor your heart rate and blood pressure regularly and will order certain laboratory tests to check your body’s response to Alecensa.

Do not let anyone else take your medicine. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

It is important that you keep a written list of all prescription and over-the-counter (over-the-counter) medications you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should take this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you go into hospital. It is also important information to take with you in case of emergencies.

Brand Names

  • Alecensa®

Disclaimer: We have made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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