Vandetanib

Printable PDF Version

About This Drug

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

Possible Side Effects

  • Headache
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Decreased appetite (decreased hunger)
  • Nausea
  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea)
  • Colitis, which is swelling (inflammation) in the colon - symptoms are loose bowel movements (diarrhea) stomach cramping, and sometimes blood in the bowel movements
  • Pain in your abdomen
  • Rash
  • Pimple like rash
  • Changes in your liver function.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Low calcium
  • Blood sugar levels 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 of patients treated with vandetanib. Not all possible side effects are included above.

Warnings and Precautions

  • Stroke, which can rarely be life-threatening. Symptoms of a stroke such as sudden numbness or weakness of your face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of your body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, feeling dizzy, loss of balance or coordination; or sudden bad headache with no known cause.If you have any of these symptoms for 2 minutes, call 911.
  • Changes in your central nervous system can happen. The central nervous system is made up of your brain and spinal cord. You could feel extreme tiredness, agitation, confusion, hallucinations (see or hear things that are not there), have trouble understanding or speaking, loss of control of your bowels or bladder, eyesight changes, numbness or lack of strength to your arms, legs, face, or body, seizures or coma. If you start to have any of these symptoms let your doctor know right away.
  • Changes in your heart function, causing congestive heart failure, which can rarely be life-threatening. You may feel short of breath, or your hands, feet or legs may swell.
  • Serious abnormal heartbeat, which can be life-threatening
  • Inflammation (swelling) of the lungs, which can rarely be life-threatening. You may have a dry cough or trouble breathing.
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Serious abnormal bleeding, which can rarely be life-threatening – symptoms may be coughing up blood, throwing up blood (may look like coffee grounds), red or black tarry bowel movements, abnormally heavy menstrual flow, nosebleeds or any other unusual bleeding.
  • Severe allergic skin reaction. You may develop blisters on your skin that are filled with fluid or a severe red rash all over your body that may be painful. You may be sensitive to the sun for up to 4 months after discontinuing this medication.
  • Severe high blood pressure
  • Changes in your thyroid function. Thyroid replacement medication may need to be increased.

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

How to Take Your Medication

  • Swallow the medicine whole with water, with or without food daily. Do not crush it.
  • If you have difficulty swallowing, dissolve tablet in 2 ounces of water (no other liquid should be used) while stirring for 10 minutes. Swallow immediately, mix any leftover medicine with 4 ounces of water and swallow.
  • Missed dose: If you miss a dose and your next dose is due in more than 12 hours, then take the missed dose. If you miss a dose, and your next dose is due in less than 12 hours, then skip the missed dose, 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.
  • If you get any of the content of a crushed tablet on your skin, you should wash the area of the skin well with soap and water right away. Call your doctor if you get a skin reaction.
  • 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

  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Ask your nurse or doctor about medicine that can lessen or stop your diarrhea.
  • 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.
  • Keeping your pain under control is important to your well-being. Please tell your doctor or nurse if you are experiencing pain.
  • 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.
  • 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 vandetanib with food.
  • 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 vandetanib. 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 vandetanib 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
  • A headache that does not go away
  • Blurry vision or other changes in eyesight
  • Confusion and/or agitation
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Trouble understanding or speaking
  • Blurry vision or changes in your eyesight
  • Numbness or lack of strength to your arms, legs, face, or body
  • Symptoms of a stroke such as sudden numbness or weakness of your face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of your body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, feeling dizzy, loss of balance or coordination; or sudden bad headache with no known cause.If you have any of these symptoms for 2 minutes, call 911.
  • Pain in your chest
  • Wheezing or trouble breathing
  • Dry cough
  • Coughing up yellow, green, bloody mucus and/or blood
  • Lasting loss of appetite or rapid weight loss of five pounds in a week
  • Fatigue that interferes with your daily activities
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking and/or is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) 4 times or loose bowel movements with lack of strength or a feeling of being dizzy
  • Pain in your abdomen that does not go away
  • Easy bleeding or bruising
  • Blood in your urine, vomit (bright red or coffee-ground) and/or stools ( bright red, or black/tarry)
  • Abnormal blood sugar
  • Unusual thirst, passing urine often, headache, sweating, shakiness, irritability
  • Swelling of legs, ankles, or feet
  • Weight gain of 5 pounds in one week (fluid retention)
  • A new rash or a rash that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • 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 4 months after treatment. Let your doctor know right away if you think you may be pregnant.
  • 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.