Alectinib

Other Names: Alecensa®

About this Drug

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

Possible Side Effects 

  • Tiredness
  • Constipation (not able to move bowels)
  • Muscle pain / aching
  • Swelling of your legs, ankles, and/or feet. 
  • Decrease in the number of red blood cells. This may make you feel more tired.
  • Electrolyte changes
  • Blood sugar level may change. If you have diabetes, changes may need to be made to your diabetes medication. 

Note: Each of the side effects above was reported in 20% or greater treated with alectinib. Not all possible side effects are included above. 

Warning and Precautions

  • Decreased heart rate may occur. You may feel dizzy or pass out. 
  • Inflammation (swelling) of the lungs. You may have a dry cough or trouble breathing. 
  • Severe muscle aching and weakness (lack of muscle strength)
  • Increase in creatine phosphokinase, which can sometimes be the result of muscle inflammation or damage. You may have muscle aching and/or cramping. 
  • Changes in your liver function
  • Changes in your kidney function

Note: Some of the side effects above are very rare. If you have concerns and/or questions, please discuss them with your medical team.

Important Information

  • Use sunscreen with SPF 50 or higher when you are outdoors even for a short time during treatment and for at least 7 days after treatment. 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. 

How to Take Your Medication

  • Swallow the medicine whole with food twice daily.Do not open or dissolve it.
  • Missed dose: If you vomit or miss a dose, take your next dose at the regular time.  Do not take 2 doses at the same time, instead, continue with your regular dosing schedule and contact your physician
  • Handling: Wash your hands after handling your medicine, your caretakers should not handle your medicine with bare hands and should wear latex gloves.
  • This drug may be present in the saliva, tears, sweat, urine, stool, vomit, semen, and vaginal secretions. Talk to your doctor and/or your nurse about the necessary precautions to take during this time.
  • Storage:Store this medicine in the original container at room temperature and protect from light. Discuss with your nurse or your doctor how to dispose of unused medicine

Treating Side Effects

  • Manage tiredness by pacing your activities for the day.
  • Be sure to include periods of rest between energy-draining activities.
  • To decrease infection, wash your hands regularly
  • Avoid close contact with people who have a cold, the flu, or other infections.
  • Take your temperature as your doctor or nurse tells you, and whenever you feel like you may have a fever
  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medicines that are available to help stop or lessen constipation.
  • If you are not able to move your bowels, check with your doctor or nurse before you use enemas, laxatives, or suppositories
  • Drink plenty of fluids (a minimum of eight glasses per day is recommended).
  • Get regular exercise. If you feel too tired to exercise vigorously, try taking a short walk.
  • If you have diabetes, keep good control of your blood sugar level. Tell your nurse or your doctor if your glucose levels are higher or lower than normal.

Food and Drug Interactions

  • There are no known interactions of alectinib with food, however this medication should be taken with food
  • There are no known interactions of alectinib with other medications. 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 if you have any of these symptoms and/or any new or unusual symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or higher
  • Chills
  • Fatigue that interferes with your daily activities.
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain in your chest
  • Dry cough
  • No bowel movement in 3 days or when you feel uncomfortable
  • Weight gain of 5 pounds in one week (fluid retention)
  • Decreased urine, or very dark urine
  • Abnormal blood sugar
  • Nausea and throwing up
  • Unusual thirst, passing urine often, headache, sweating, shakiness, irritability, rapid and deep breathing
  • Extreme muscle weakness/aching that interferes with normal activities
  • Signs of possible liver problems: dark urine, pale bowel movements, bad stomach pain, feeling very tired and weak, unusual itching, or yellowing of the eyes or skin
  • If you think you may be pregnant

Reproduction Warnings 

  • Pregnancy warning: This drug can have harmful effects on the unborn baby. Women of child bearing potential should use effective methods of birth control during your cancer treatment and for at least 1 week after treatment. Men with female partners of child bearing potential should use effective methods of birth control during your cancer treatment and for at least 3 months after your cancer treatment. Let your doctor know right away if you think you may be pregnant or may have impregnated your partner.
  • Breastfeeding warning: Women should not breast feed during treatment and for 1 week after treatment because this drug could enter the breast milk and cause harm to a breast feeding baby.
  • Fertility warning: Human fertility studies have not been done with this drug. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children.Ask for information on sperm or egg banking.

Revised January 2018

This information is intended to provide helpful health information to the general public and is not to be used in place of any medical, health, psychological, or any other kind of personal professional services.  The information herein does not cover all possible uses, actions, precautions, side effects, or interactions of the medicines mentioned, nor is the information intended as medical advice for individual problems or for making an evaluation as to the risks and benefits of taking a particular medication.  The dose, method of administration and contraindications for any administered medication should be confirmed before use.  UPMC specifically disclaims all responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, which is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any medication mentioned herein.