Other Names: Zolinza®
About This Drug
Vorinostat is used to treat cancer. It is given orally (by mouth).
Possible Side Effects
- Decreased appetite (decreased hunger)
- Changes in the way food and drinks taste
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea)
- A decrease in the number of platelets (thrombocytopenia). This may raise your risk of bleeding.
Note: Each of the side effects above was reported in 20% or greater of patients treated with vorinostat. Not all possible side effects are included above.
Warnings and Precautions
- Blood clots. A blood clot in your leg may cause your leg to swell, appear red and warm, and/or cause pain. A blood clot in your lungs may cause trouble breathing, pain when breathing, and/or chest pain.
- Blood sugar levels may change– if you have diabetes, changes may need to be made to your diabetes medication.
- Electrolyte changes. Your blood will be checked for electrolyte changes as needed.
- In addition to a decrease in platelets, this drug may cause a decrease in the number of red blood cells (anemia).
- Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may be severe and might need medicines or intravenous fluids to manage.
- Drug interactions can increase the risk of bleeding. Report all medications to your doctor.
How to Take Your Medication
- Swallow the medicine whole. Take with food. Do not open or crush the capsules.
- Missed dose: If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you think about it. If it is close 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.
- 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 help with decreased appetite, eat small, frequent meals.
- Eat high caloric food such as pudding, ice cream, yogurt and milkshakes.
- 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.
- Taking good care of your mouth may help food taste better and improve your appetite.
- 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.
- To help with dry mouth, sugar-free hard candies and chewing gum can keep your mouth moist.
- To minimize your risk of 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.
Food and Drug Interactions
- There are no known interactions of vorinostat 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 vorinostat. 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.
- Talk to your doctor if you are taking warfarin, you may need more frequent blood work to monitor your warfarin levels.
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
- Wheezing or trouble breathing
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) more than 4 times a day or diarrhea with weakness or lightheadedness
- Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking and/or nausea that is not relieved by prescribed medicine
- 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
- A swollen, red and warm leg
- Heavy menstrual period that lasts longer than normal
- Easy bleeding or bruising
- Chest pain or symptoms of a heart attack. Most heart attacks involve pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes. The pain may go away and come back. It can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. Sometimes pain is felt in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach. If any of these symptoms last 2 minutes, call 911.
- Symptoms of a stroke such as sudden numbness or weakness of your face, arm, or leg, mostly 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.
- If you think you are pregnant
- Pregnancy warning: This drug may have harmful effects on the unborn baby. Let your doctor know right away if you think you may be pregnant.
- Breast feeding 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.