Vismodegib

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About This Drug

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

Possible Side Effects

  • Tiredness
  • Hair loss. Hair loss is often temporary, although with certain medicine, hair loss can sometimes be permanent. Hair loss may happen suddenly or gradually. If you lose hair, you may lose it from your head, face, armpits, pubic area, chest, and/or legs. You may also notice your hair getting thin.
  • Changes in the way food and drinks taste
  • Nausea and throwing up (vomiting)
  • Loose bowel movements
  • Constipation (unable to move bowels)
  • Decreased appetite (decreased hunger)
  • Weight loss
  • Joint, bone and muscle pain
  • Muscle spasms

Note:Each of the side effects above was reported in 10% or greater of patients treated with vismodegib. Not all possible side effects are included above.

Important Information

  • Do not donate blood during your treatment and for 24 months after your treatment.
  • For males only, do not donate sperm during your treatment and for 3 months after your treatment because this drug may be present in semen and may badly harm a baby.

How to Take Your Medication

  • Swallow the medicine whole with or without food.Do not open or crush 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. Discuss with your nurse or your doctor how to dispose of unused medicine.
  • To help with hair loss, wash with a mild shampoo and avoid washing your hair every day.
  • Avoid rubbing your scalp, pat your hair or scalp dry.
  • Avoid coloring your hair.
  • Limit your use of hair spray, electric curlers, blow dryers, and curling irons.
  • If you are interested in getting a wig, talk to your nurse. You can also call the American Cancer Society at 800-ACS-2345 to find out information about the “Look Good, Feel Better” program close to where you live. It is a free program where women getting chemotherapy can learn about wigs, turbans and scarves as well as makeup techniques and skin and nail care.
  • Taking good care of your mouth may help food taste better and improve your appetite.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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 and/or constipation.
  • 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.
  • Keeping your pain under control is important to your well-being. Please tell your doctor or nurse if you are experiencing pain.

Food and Drug Interactions

  • There are no known interactions of vismodegib with food or 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:

  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) 4 times a day or loose bowel movements with lack of strength or a feeling of being dizzy
  • No bowel movement in 3 days or when you feel uncomfortable
  • 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
  • Fatigue that interferes with your daily activities
  • Pain that does not go away, or is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • 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 24 months after treatment. In women, menstrual bleeding may become irregular or stop while you are getting this drug. Do not assume that you cannot become pregnant if you do not have a menstrual period. Men should use condoms with female partners of child-bearing potential or partners that may be pregnant during cancer treatment and for at least 3 months after cancer treatment. Men should use condoms even after a successful vasectomy. 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 24 months after treatment because this drug could enter the breast milk and cause harm to a breast feeding baby.
  • Fertility warning: In women, 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 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.