Ceritinib

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About This Drug

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

Possible Side Effects

  • Nausea and throwing up (vomiting)
  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea)
  • Pain in your abdomen
  • Decreased appetite (decreased hunger)
  • Tiredness
  • Weight loss
  • Cough
  • Decreased white blood cells and red blood cells - this may raise your risk of infection and make you tired and weak (fatigue)
  • Changes in your liver function
  • Changes in your pancreas function
  • Changes in your kidney function
  • Decrease in phosphate in your blood

Note: Each of the side effects above was reported in 25% or greater of patients treated with ceritinib. Not all possible side effects are included above.

Warnings and Precautions

  • Severe and persistent diarrhea, pain in your abdomen, nausea and vomiting can occur
  • Changes in your liver function
  • Inflammation (swelling) of the lungs which can very rarely be life-threatening. You may have a dry cough or trouble breathing.
  • Abnormal heart beat and/or decrease in heart rate may occur which may be life-threatening.
  • Blood sugar levels may change. If you have diabetes, changes may need to be made to your diabetes medication.
  • Inflammation of your pancreas which can very rarely be life-threatening

How to Take Your Medication

  • Take this drug by mouth with food. Do not chew, break or crush it. Do not touch a broken or crushed tablet.
  • Missed dose: If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you think about it. If it is within 12 hours to your next dose, then skip the missed dose and go back to your normal schedule. Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
  • If you vomit a dose, take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take 2 doses at the same time.
  • 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. Discuss with your nurse or your doctor how to dispose of unused medicine.

Treating Side Effects

  • Drink plenty of fluids (a minimum of eight glasses per day is recommended).
  • 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 diarrhea, eat low-fiber foods that are high in protein and calories and avoid foods that can irritate your digestive tracts or lead to cramping.
  • To help with nausea and vomiting, eat small, frequent meals instead of three large meals a day. Choose foods and drinks that are at room temperature. Ask your nurse or doctor about other helpful tips and medicine that is available to help or stop lessen these symptoms.
  • Ask your nurse or doctor about medicine that can lessen or stop your diarrhea.
  • To help with weight loss, drink fluids that contribute calories (whole milk, juice, soft drinks, sweetened beverages, milkshakes, and nutritional supplements) instead of water.
  • Include a source of protein at every meal and snack, such as meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, tofu, eggs, nuts, milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, pudding, and nutritional supplements.
  • Keeping your pain under control is important to your well-being. Please tell your doctor or nurse if you are experiencing pain.
  • 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

  • Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while taking this medicine. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may raise the levels of ceritinib in your body. This could make side effects worse.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist about all other prescription medicines and dietary supplements you are taking before starting this medicine as there are a lot of known drug interactions with ceritinib. Also, check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new prescription or over-the-counter medicines, or dietary supplement to make sure that there are no interactions.
  • Avoid the use of St. John’s Wort while taking ceritinib as this may lower the levels of the drug in your body, which can make it less effective.

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
  • Feeling that your heart is beating in a fast or not normal way (palpitations)
  • Pain in your chest
  • Dry cough
  • Trouble breathing
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) 4 times a day or loose bowel movements with lack of strength or a feeling of being dizzy
  • Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking and/or is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Throwing up more than 3 times a day
  • Lasting loss of appetite or rapid weight loss of five pounds in a week
  • Abnormal blood sugar
  • Unusual thirst, passing urine often, headache, sweating, shakiness, irritability
  • Decreased urine, or very dark urine
  • 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 or may have impregnated your partner

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 6 months 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 2 weeks 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 December 2017

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.