1 What is Xalkori?

Brand: Xalkori

Generic: Crizotinib

Xalkori, a kinase inhibitor, is used in the treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer that is ALK-positive. This medication prevents cell growth by inhibiting ALK, hepatocyte growth factor receptor, and recepteur d'origine nantais.

The cells are eventually destroyed by the immune response or other treatments. Xalkori can only be purchased with a prescription and is usually in capsule form.

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2 What to Know Before Using

Before using Xalkori, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it. Your doctor will discuss those with you in a comprehensive manner before prescribing this medication. Laboratory tests are also necessary to make sure that you are a good candidate for this kind of treatment.

There are also other factors to consider when contemplating Crizotinib use. If you have had allergic reactions to the same kind of medications, inform your doctor. You also need to tell him/her if you have allergies to food, dyes, preservatives, and other drugs.

The effects of Crizotinib on children have not been studied well. On the other hand, Crizotinib has been found to be safe and effective in geriatric patients.

This medication is not indicated for pregnant women since it can cause harm to the unborn child. If you do get pregnant while taking Crizotinib, inform your physician right away.

Although there hasn’t been enough research on Crizotinib’s effect in nursing babies, use of this medication is not recommended when breastfeeding. Make sure the benefits outweigh the risks.

Avoid using Xalkori with CYP3A inducers like:

  • Phenobarbital
  • Carbamazepine
  • Phenytoin
  • Rifampin
  • Rifabutin
  • St. John’s Wort

The same goes for CYP3A substrates such as with narrow therapeutic indices such as:

  • Cyclosporine
  • Alfentanil
  • Dihydroergotamine
  • Fentanyl
  • Ergotamine
  • Quinidine
  • Sirolimus
  • Pimozide
  • Tacrolimus

Avoid consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice while on this treatment.

Xalkori can also complicate other medical conditions including:

3 Proper Usage

To use Xalkori properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor. The dosing and timing of Xalkori may be different for every individual. Take it only within the specified duration of treatment and do not increase the daily frequency without consulting your physician.

Be informed and read the information sheet that comes with it. You can always ask your healthcare professional if you need clarification on certain things about your treatment. You can take Crizotinib with or without food, but make sure your swallow the capsule whole.

Again, dosing and timing differ for each patient. However, the generally recommended or baselines dose is 250 mg twice a day. This may be adjusted progress as you progress through therapy.

For missed doses, take it as soon as you remember and if the next dose is not less than 6 hours away. If so, skip it and resume your normal schedule.

Store your medications in a closed container at room temperature and away from children. Discard expired medications.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Xalkori, there are some precautions you must take. Go to your scheduled checkups religiously. Do not miss any or at least reschedule it immediately.

This is very important because it allows your doctor to monitor your progress and to make necessary adjustments to your treatment if side effects occur. You should also get laboratory exams done as prescribed by your physician. These exams reflect what the medication is doing inside your body.

There are precautionary measures you need to take when you are on crizotinib treatment. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery when taking this medication because it can cause dizziness, tiredness, and/or blurred vision.

Inform your physician if you have any change in your vision. Also, you need to watch out for signs or symptoms of pneumonitis or lung swelling. These could include productive or a nonproductive cough, shortness of breath, fever, or trouble breathing.

Also, Crizotinib can damage the liver, so you should tell your physician if you have pale stools, dark urine, pain or tenderness in the upper stomach, loss of appetite, nausea, unusual weakness, or yellow discoloration of eyes or skin. QT prolongation can develop as well. This condition may manifest as dizziness and/or irregular or pounding heartbeats.

Notify your physician immediately. Ask your nurse or healthcare professional how to decrease the risk of developing unwanted effects like diarrhea, constipation, nausea, or vomiting. Do not take any over-the-counter drugs without consulting your physician.

5 Potential Side Effects

Aside from those already mentioned, Xalkori also causes other side effects. Some of them do not need medical treatment.

However, if you experience any of the following, inform your doctor right away:

  • black/tarry stools
  • swelling of the face and limbs
  • chest pain
  • body pain
  • pins and needles sensation
  • cough or hoarseness
  • fever or chills
  • headache
  • lower back or side pain
  • painful urination
  • slow or irregular heartbeat
  • tightness in the chest
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • and weakness in the arms, hands, legs or feet

Common side effects that may go away without treatment include:

Your healthcare team can help you find ways to decrease these effects. If you have signs and symptoms that are not listed, call your doctor immediately.

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