Alectinib

Other Names: Alecensa®

Printable PDF Version

About this Drug

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

Possible Side Effects 

  • Decrease in the number of red blood cells. This may make you feel more tired.
  • Constipation (unable to move bowels)
  • Tiredness
  • Swelling of your legs, ankles and/or feet
  • Muscle pain/aching

Note: Each of the side effects above was reported in 20% or greater treated with alectinib. Not all possible side effects are included above. 

Warning and Precautions

  • Decreased heart rate may occur. You may feel dizzy or pass out.
  • Scarring of the lungs that causes stiffness in the lungs and/or inflammation (swelling) of the lungs, which makes breathing difficult. You may have a dry cough or trouble breathing.
  • Severe muscle aching and weakness (lack of muscle strength)
  • Increase in creatine phosphokinase, which can sometimes be the result of muscle inflammation or damage. You may have muscle aching and/or cramping.
  • Changes in your liver function
  • Changes in your kidney function

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

Important Information

  • Use sunscreen and lip balm with SPF 50 or higher when you are outdoors even for a short time during treatment and for at least 7 days after treatment. Cover up when you are out in the sun. Wear widebrimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts, and pants.

How to Take Your Medication

  • Swallow the medicine whole with food. Do not open or dissolve it.
  • Missed dose: If you vomit or miss a dose, take your next dose at the regular time, and contact your doctor. Do not take 2 doses at the same time and do not double up on the next dose.
  • 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 and protect from light and moisture. Do not store above 30°C (86°F).
  • Disposal of unused medicine: Do not flush any expired and/or unused medicine down the toilet or drain unless you are specifically instructed to do so on the medication label. Some facilities have take-back programs and/or other options. If you do not have a take-back program in your area, then please 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.
  • 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.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (a minimum of eight glasses per day is recommended).
  • Get regular exercise. If you feel too tired to exercise vigorously, try taking a short walk

Food and Drug Interactions

  • There are no known interactions of alectinib with food, however this medication should be taken with food.
  • This drug may interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the prescription and over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs and others) that you are taking at this time. Also, check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new prescription or over-the-counter medicines, or dietary supplements to make sure that there are no interactions.

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 100.4° F (38° C) or higher
  • Chills
  • Tiredness that interferes with your daily activities.
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain in your chest
  • Dry cough
  • No bowel movement in 3 days or when you feel uncomfortable
  • Weight gain of 5 pounds in one week (fluid retention)
  • Swelling of your legs, ankles and/or feet
  • Decreased urine, or very dark urine
  • Nausea and throwing up
  • Extreme muscle weakness/aching that interferes with normal activities
  • 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 childbearing potential should use effective methods of birth control during your cancer treatment and for at least 1 week after treatment. Men with female partners of childbearing potential should use effective methods of birth control during your cancer treatment and for 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: Women should not breastfeed during treatment and for 1 week after treatment because this drug could enter the breast milk and cause harm to a breastfeeding 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 May 2019

This patient information was developed by Via Oncology, LLC © 2019. This information is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. CLIENT acknowledges that the Via Pathways and Via Portal are information management tools only, and that Via Oncology, LLC has not represented the Via Pathways or Via Portal as having the ability to diagnose disease, prescribe treatment, or perform any other tasks that constitute the practice of medicine. The clinical information contained in the Via Pathways and Via Portal are intended as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the knowledge, expertise, skill, and judgment of physicians, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals involved with patient care at CLIENT facilities.