Ceritinib (Zykadia™)

OncoLink Team
Last Modified: August 14, 2015

Pronounced: se-ri-ti-nib

Classification: Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor About Ceritinib Ceritinib is a type of targeted therapy called a tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Ceritinib works by targeting and blocking receptors found on the cancer cells, which in turn blocks the tumor's ability to grow. This medication acts specifically on tumors that have an abnormality in a gene called ALK (anaplastic lymphoma kinase). Your oncology team will test your tumor for this abnormality, which must be present for this medication to work. How to Take Ceritinib Ceritinib comes in a capsule form and is taken once a day. The capsule should be swallowed whole (do not break or chew) on an empty stomach (take 2 hours before or after eating). If you miss a dose, you can take it as soon as you remember, up to 12 hours before the next scheduled dose. If it is less than 12 hours until the next dose, do not take the missed dose. Do not take two doses at once to make up for the one you missed.The blood levels of this medication can be affected by certain foods and medications, so they should be avoided. These include (but are not limited to): grapefruit, grapefruit juice, ketoconazole, rifampin, phenytoin, St. John's wort, warfarin, and fentanyl. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all medications and supplements you take. Storage and Handling Store this medication at room temperature in the original container. If you prefer to use a pillbox, discuss this with your oncology pharmacist. Ask your oncology team where to return any unused medication for disposal. Do not flush down the toilet or throw in the trash. Where do I get this medication? Ceritinib is available through select specialty pharmacies.

About Ceritinib (Zykadia™)

Ceritinib is a type of targeted therapy called a tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Ceritinib works by targeting and blocking receptors found on the cancer cells, which in turn blocks the tumor's ability to grow. This medication acts specifically on tumors that have an abnormality in a gene called ALK (anaplastic lymphoma kinase). Your oncology team will test your tumor for this abnormality, which must be present for this medication to work.

Pronounced: se-ri-ti-nib

Patients can develop an inflammation of the lungs (called pneumonitis) while taking this medication. Notify your healthcare provider right away if you develop any new or worsening symptoms, including shortness of breath, trouble breathing, cough or fever.

Heart Problems

This medication can cause slow or abnormal heartbeats, or an abnormal heart rhythm called QT prolongation. Notify your healthcare provider right away if you feel abnormal heartbeats or if you feel dizzy or faint.

High Blood Sugar

This medication can cause elevated blood sugar levels in patients with and without diabetes. Your healthcare team will monitor your blood sugar. If you develop increased thirst, urination or hunger, blurry vision, headaches or your breath smells like fruit, notify your healthcare team. Diabetics should monitor their blood sugar closely and report elevations to the healthcare team.

Fatigue

Fatigue is very common during cancer treatment and is an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion that is not usually relieved by rest. While on cancer treatment, and for a period after, you may need to adjust your schedule to manage fatigue. Plan times to rest during the day and conserve energy for more important activities. Exercise can help combat fatigue; a simple daily walk with a friend can help. Talk to your healthcare team for helpful tips on dealing with this side effect.

Decrease in Appetite

Nutrition is an important part of your care. Cancer treatment can affect your appetite and, in some cases, the side effects of treatment can make eating difficult. Ask your nurse about nutritional counseling services at your treatment center to help with food choices.

  • Try to eat five or six small meals or snacks throughout the day, instead of 3 larger meals.
  • If you are not eating enough, nutritional supplements may help.
  • You may experience a metallic taste or find that food has no taste at all. You may dislike foods or beverages that you liked before receiving cancer treatment. These symptoms can last for several months or longer after treatment ends.
  • Avoid any food that you think smells or tastes bad. If red meat is a problem, eat chicken, turkey, eggs, dairy products and fish without a strong smell. Sometimes cold food has less of an odor.
  • Add extra flavor to meat or fish by marinating it in sweet juices, sweet and sour sauce or dressings. Use seasonings like basil, oregano or rosemary to add flavor. Bacon, ham and onion can add flavor to vegetables.

Reproductive Concerns

Exposure of an unborn child to this medication could cause birth defects, so you should not become pregnant or father a child while on this medication. Effective birth control is necessary during treatment and for at least 2 weeks after. Even if your menstrual cycle stops or you believe you are not producing sperm, you could still be fertile and conceive. You should consult with your healthcare team before breastfeeding while receiving this medication.


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