Axitinib

Axitinib treats cancer of the kidneys. Axitinib can cause diarrhea and increased blood pressure. Blood pressure should be monitored regularly during treatment.

Axitinib Overview

Reviewed: June 15, 2012
Updated: 

Axitinib is a prescription medication used to treat advanced kidney cancer (advanced renal cell carcinoma or RCC) when one prior drug treatment for this disease has not worked. Axitinib belongs to a group of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors, which work by blocking the action of an abnormal protein that signals cancer cells to multiply. This helps slow or stop the spread of cancer cells.

This medication comes in tablet form and is taken twice daily, with or without food. Axitinib tablets must be swallowed whole with a glass of water.

Common side effects of axitinib include diarrhea, tiredness, and nausea.

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Axitinib Cautionary Labels

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Uses of Axitinib

Axitinib is a prescription medicine used to treat advanced kidney cancer (advanced renal cell carcinoma or RCC) when one prior drug treatment for this disease has not worked.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Axitinib Brand Names

Axitinib may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Axitinib Drug Class

Axitinib is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Axitinib

Axitinib may cause serious side effects. See "Axitinib Precautions."

The most common side effects of axitinib include:

  • diarrhea (frequent or loose bowel movements)
  • high blood pressure
  • tiredness or feeling weak
  • decreased appetite
  • nausea
  • hoarseness
  • rash, redness, itching or peeling of your skin on your hands and feet
  • decreased weight
  • vomiting
  • constipation

Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

These are not all the possible side effects of axitinib. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Axitinib Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Axitinib and certain other medicines can affect each other causing serious side effects.

Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • dexamethasone
  • St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
  • Medicine for:
    • asthma
    • tuberculosis
    • seizures
    • bacterial infections
    • fungal infections
    • depression
    • HIV or AIDS

Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure if your medicine is one listed above. If you are taking any medicines for the conditions listed above, your doctor might need to prescribe a different medicine or your dose of axitinib may need to be changed. Talk with your doctor before you start taking any new medicine.

Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them to show your doctor and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.

Axitinib Precautions

Axitinib may cause serious side effects, including:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension). Your doctor should check your blood pressure regularly during treatment with axitinib. If you develop blood pressure problems, your doctor may prescribe medicine to treat your high blood pressure, lower your dose, or stop your treatment with axitinib.
  • Thyroid gland problems. Your doctor should do blood tests to check your thyroid gland function before and during your treatment with axitinib. Tell your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms during your treatment with axitinib:
    • tiredness that worsens or that does not go away
    • feeling hot or cold
    • your voice deepens
    • weight gain or weight loss
    • hair loss
    • muscle cramps and aches
  • Problem with blood clots in your veins or arteries. Get emergency help and call your doctor if you get any of the following symptoms:
    • chest pain or pressure
    • pain in your arms, back, neck or jaw
    • shortness of breath
    • numbness or weakness on one side of your body
    • trouble talking
    • headache
    • vision changes
  • Bleeding. Axinitib can cause bleeding which can be serious, and sometimes lead to death. Call your doctor or get medical help if you develop any bleeding, including:
    • unexpected bleeding or bleeding that lasts a long time, such as:
    • unusual bleeding from the gums
    • menstrual bleeding or vaginal bleeding that is heavier than normal
    • bleeding that is severe or you cannot control
    • pink or brown urine
    • red or black stools (looks like tar)
    • bruises that happen without a known cause or get larger
    • cough up blood or blood clots
    • vomit blood or your vomit looks like "coffee grounds"
    • unexpected pain, swelling, or joint pain
    • headaches, feeling dizzy or weak
  • Tear in your stomach or intestinal wall (perforation). Get medical help right away if you get the following symptoms:
    • severe stomach (abdominal) pain or stomach pain that does not go away
    • vomit blood
    • red or black stools
  • Reversible Posterior Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome (RPLS). A condition called reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome (RPLS) can happen while taking axitinib. Call your doctor right away if you get:
    • headache
    • seizures
    • weakness
    • confusion
    • high blood pressure
    • blindness or change in vision
    • problems thinking
  • Increased protein in your urine. Your doctor should check your urine for protein before and during your treatment with axitinib. If you develop protein in your urine, your doctor may decrease your dose of axitinib or stop your treatment.
  • Change in liver function. Your doctor should do blood tests before and during your treatment with axitinib to check your liver function.

Taking axitinib during pregnancy may cause the death of an unborn baby or birth defects. You should not become pregnant while taking axitinib. Use effective birth control while taking axitinib.

Do not take axitinib if you are allergic to any of its ingredients.

Axitinib Food Interactions

Do not drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit. Grapefruit may increase the amount of axitinib in your blood.

Inform MD

Before you take axitinib, tell your doctor if you:

  • have high blood pressure
  • have thyroid problems
  • have liver problems
  • have a history of blood clots in your veins or arteries (types of blood vessels), including stroke, heart attack, or change in vision
  • have any bleeding problems
  • have an unhealed wound
  • plan to have surgery. You should stop taking axitinib at least 24 hours before planned surgery.
  • have any other medical conditions

For females, tell your doctor if you:

  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. 
  • are able to become pregnant. 
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

For males:

  • use effective birth control during your treatment with axitinib. Talk to your doctor about birth control methods.
  • if your female partner becomes pregnant while you are taking axitinib, tell your doctor right away.

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Axitinib and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you:

  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Taking axitinib during pregnancy may cause the death of an unborn baby or birth defects. You should not become pregnant while taking axitinib. Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
  • are able to become pregnant. You should use effective birth control during your treatment with axitinib. Talk to your doctor about birth control methods to prevent pregnancy while you are taking axitinib.

Axitinib and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if axitinib passes into your breast milk. You and your doctor should decide if you will take axitinib or breastfeed. You should not do both.

Axitinib Usage

  • Take axitinib exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Your doctor may change your dose if needed.
  • Axitinib can be taken with or without food.
  • Take axitinib 2 times a day approximately 12 hours apart.
  • Swallow axitinib tablets whole with a glass of water.
  • Your doctor should check your blood pressure regularly during treatment with axitinib.
  • If you vomit or miss a dose of axitinib, take your next dose at your regular time. Do not take two doses at the same time.
  • If you take too much axitinib, call your doctor or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away.

Axitinib Dosage

Take axitinib exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.

The recommended starting oral dose of axitinib is 5 mg twice daily. Take axitinib doses approximately 12 hours apart with or without food. axitinib should be swallowed whole with a glass of water.

Axitinib Overdose

If you take too much axinitib call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away

If axinitib is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.

Other Requirements

  • Store axinitib at room temperature between 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C).
  • Keep axinitib and all medicines out of the reach of children.