About This Drug
Vismodegib is used to treat cancer. It is given orally (by mouth).
Possible Side Effects
- Nausea and vomiting (throwing up)
- Diarrhea (loose bowel movements)
- Constipation (unable to move bowels)
- Decreased appetite (decreased hunger)
- Changes in the way food and drinks taste or loss of taste
- Weight loss
- Joint, bone and muscle pain
- Muscle spasms
- 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.
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.
- Do not donate blood during your treatment and for 24 months after your treatment.
- Men should not donate sperm during treatment and for 3 months after treatment because this drug may be present in semen and may cause harm to a baby.
- Let your doctor know right away if you think you may be pregnant during treatment or within 24 months of receiving treatment. There is a pregnancy exposure registry and pharmacovigilance program which monitors the effect of this drug on your pregnancy. It is recommended that you enroll in the Pregnancy Exposure Registry and report your pregnancy by calling 1-888-835-2555.
How to Take Your Medication
- Swallow the medicine whole with or without food. Do not open or crush capsules.
- 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 doctor.
- 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. Keep lid tightly closed to protect from moisture.
- 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.
- Drink plenty of fluids (a minimum of eight glasses per day is recommended).
- 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.
- If you throw up or have loose bowel movements, you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated (lack of 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 stop or lessen these symptoms.
- 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 and/or constipation.
- If you are not able to move your bowels, check with your doctor or nurse before you use enemas, laxatives, or suppositories.
- To help with decreased appetite, eat small, frequent meals. Eat foods high in calories and protein, such as meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, tofu, eggs, nuts, milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, pudding, and nutritional supplements.
- Consider using sauces and spices to increase taste. Daily exercise, with your doctor’s approval, may increase your appetite.
- Taking good care of your mouth may help food taste better and improve your appetite.
- Keeping your pain under control is important to your well-being. Please tell your doctor or nurse if you are experiencing pain.
- 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.
Food and Drug Interactions
- There are no known interactions of vismodegib 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:
- Tiredness that interferes with your daily activities
- Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking and/or is not relieved by prescribed medicines
- Throwing up more than 3 times a day
- Diarrhea, 4 times in one day or diarrhea with lack of strength or a feeling of being dizzy
- No bowel movement in 3 days or when you feel uncomfortable
- Lasting loss of appetite or rapid weight loss of five pounds in a week
- 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
- 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 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 childbearing potential or partners that may be pregnant during cancer treatment and for 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 breastfeed during treatment and for 24 months after treatment because this drug could enter the breast milk and cause harm to a breastfeeding 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 June 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.