About This Drug
Temsirolimus is used to treat cancer. It is given in the vein (IV).
Possible Side Effects
- Bone marrow depression. This is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This may raise your risk of infection, make you tired and weak (fatigue), and raise your risk of bleeding.
- Soreness of the mouth and throat. You may have red areas, white patches, or sores that hurt.
- Decreased appetite (decreased hunger)
- Swelling in your legs, ankles, and/or feet
- Changes in your liver function
- Changes in your kidney function
- Electrolyte changes
- Blood sugar levels may change. If you have diabetes, changes may need to be made to your diabetes medication
- Increase in your triglycerides and cholesterol level
Note: Each of the side effects above was reported in 30% or greater of patients treated with temsirolimus. Not all possible side effects are included above.
Warnings and Precautions
- While you are getting this drug in your vein (IV), you may have a reaction to the drug. Sometimes you may be given medication to stop or lessen these side effects. Your nurse will check you closely for these signs: fever or shaking chills, flushing, facial swelling, feeling dizzy, headache, trouble breathing, rash, itching, chest tightness, or chest pain. These reactions may happen after your infusion. If this happens, call 911 for emergency care.
- Severe infections, including viral, bacterial and fungal, which can be life-threatening
- Blood sugar levels may change
- Changes in your liver function
- Increase in your triglycerides and cholesterol level
- Inflammation (swelling) of the lungs which can be life-threatening. You may have a dry cough or trouble breathing.
- Perforation- A hole in your stomach, small and/or large intestine which can be life-threatening
- Changes in your kidney function, which can cause kidney failure and be life-threatening
- Elderly patients may be at a higher risk of developing more severe symptoms such as diarrhea, swelling and pneumonia
- If you have cancer of the brain or if you are blood thinning medication, you may be at an increased risk of developing bleeding in your brain
- Slow wound healing
Note: Some of the side effects above are very rare. If you have concerns and/or questions, please discuss them with your medical team.
- Talk to your doctor before receiving any vaccinations during your treatment. Some vaccinations are not recommended while receiving temsirolimus. You should also avoid contact with people who have received a live vaccine such as intranasal influenza and MMR.
- Temsirolimus may cause slow wound healing. It should not be given before surgery. If you must have emergency surgery or have an accident that results in a wound, tell the doctor that you are on timsirolimus.
- 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.
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.
- To help decrease bleeding, use a soft toothbrush. Check with your nurse before using dental floss.
- Be very careful when using knives or tools.
- Use an electric shaver instead of a razor.
- Keeping your pain under control is important to your well-being. Please tell your doctor or nurse if you are experiencing pain.
- Mouth care is very important. Your mouth care should consist of routine, gentle cleaning of your teeth or dentures and rinsing your mouth with a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water or ½ teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of water. This should be done at least after each meal and at bedtime.
- If you have mouth sores, avoid mouthwash that has alcohol. Also avoid alcohol and smoking because they can bother your mouth and throat.
- To help with decreased appetite, eat small, frequent meals.
- Eat high caloric food such as pudding, ice cream, yogurt and milkshakes.
- Drink plenty of fluids (a minimum of eight glasses per day is recommended).
- To help with nausea, 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.
- Infusion reactions may occur after your infusion. If this happens, call 911 for emergency care.
- 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.
- If you get a rash do not put anything on it unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep the area around the rash clean and dry. Ask your doctor for medicine if your rash bothers you.
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 temsirolimus 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 known drug interactions with temsirolimus. 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 temsirolimus 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
- Fatigue that interferes with your daily activities
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Easy bleeding or bruising
- Pain in your chest
- Dry cough
- Trouble breathing
- Severe Abdominal pain that does not go away
- Pain in your mouth or throat that makes it hard to eat or drink
- Lasting loss of appetite or rapid weight loss of five pounds in a week
- Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking or relieved by prescribed medicine
- Throwing up more than 3 times a day
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) 4 times a day or loose bowel movements with lack of strength or a feeling of being dizzy
- Blood in your stool
- Decreased urine, or very dark urine
- Abnormal blood sugar
- Unusual thirst, passing urine often, headache, sweating, shakiness, irritability
- 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
- Signs of infusion reaction: fever or shaking chills, flushing, facial swelling, feeling dizzy, headache, trouble breathing, rash, itching, chest tightness, or chest pain.
- A new rash or a rash that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
- If you think you may be pregnant or may have impregnated your partner
- 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 3 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: It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. For this reason, women should talk to their doctor about the risks and benefits of breast feeding during treatment with this drug because this drug may 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.