About This Drug
Venetoclax is used to treat cancer. It is given orally (by mouth).
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.
- Upper respiratory infection
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea)
Note:Each of the side effects above was reported in 20% or greater of patients treated with venetoclax. Not all possible side effects are included above.
Warnings and Precautions
- Tumor lysis syndrome: This drug may act on the cancer cells very quickly. This may affect how your kidneys work. This can rarely be life-threatening.
- Severe decrease in the number of white blood cells. This may raise your risk of infection.
- Talk to your doctor before receiving any vaccinations during your treatment. Vaccinations are not recommended while receiving venetoclax.
How to Take Your Medication
- Swallow the medicine whole with food daily. Do not chew, break, cut or crush it.
- Take this medicine at the same time each day.
- Missed dose: If you have missed your dose by more than 8 hours, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule, and contact your physician. If you have missed a dose and it is within 8 hours of the time you usually take your dose, take the missed dose and then continue with your regular dosing schedule. 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
- 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.
- 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 have 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, 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.
Food and Drug Interactions
- Do not eat grapefruit, Seville oranges, and starfruit or drink grapefruit juice while taking this medicine. These foods may raise the levels of venetoclax 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 venetoclax. 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 venetoclax as this may lower the levels of the drug in your body, which can make it less effective.
- There are known interactions of venetoclax with blood thinning medicine such as warfarin. Ask your doctor what precautions you should take.
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
- Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking and/or is not relieved by prescribed medicines
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) 4 times a day or loose bowel movements with lack of strength or a feeling of being dizzy
- Signs of tumor lysis: Confusion or agitation, decreased urine, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramping, numbness and/or tingling, seizures.
- If you think you may be pregnant
- 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 month after treatment. Let your doctor know right away if you think you may be pregnant.
- Breastfeeding warning: Women should not breast feed during treatment because this drug could enter the breast milk and cause harm to a breast feeding baby.
- Fertility warning: In men, this drug may affect your ability to have children in the future. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children. Ask for information on sperm banking.
Revised January 2018