You are using an outdated browser. We suggest you update your browser for a better experience. Click here for update.
Close this notification.
Skip to main content Skip to search

alectinib

( al-EK-ti-nib )
Other Name(s): Alecensaro™ ()
Appearance: White capsule

Medication Information Sheet
alectinib (al-EK-ti-nib)
This document provides general information about your medication. It does not replace the advice of your health care professional. Always discuss your therapy with your health care professional and refer to the package insert for more details.

Other Name: Alecensaro™

Appearance:

White capsule

What is this medication for?
  • For treating a type of lung cancer called ALK (anaplastic lymphoma kinase) positive lung cancer that cannot be surgically removed or cured with chemotherapy or radiation or that has spread to other parts of the body.
What should I do before I have this medication?
  • Tell your health care team if you have or had significant medical condition(s), especially if you have or had:
    • heart problems,
    • liver problems,
    • lung problems,
    • stomach problems or
    • any allergies.
       
  • This drug contains a small amount of lactose. If you cannot tolerate lactose, talk to your health care team.
     
  • Patients with cancer have a higher risk of getting blood clots. Some cancer treatments may increase this risk. Discuss this with your health care team.
How will this medication affect sex, pregnancy and breastfeeding?
  • The use of this medication in men or women may cause harm to the unborn baby if pregnancy occurs. Let your health care team know if you or your partner is pregnant, becomes pregnant during treatment, or if you are breastfeeding.
     

 

 

 

  • If there is any chance that you or your partner may become pregnant, you and your partner together must: 
    • ► Use 2 effective forms of birth control at the same time while taking this drug. Keep using birth control for at least 3 months after your last dose unless your health care team told you differently. Talk to your health care team to figure out the best method(s) for you and/or your partner.
       
  • Do not breastfeed while using this drug.
     
  • This medication may affect fertility (ability to get pregnant).
How is this medication given?
  • This medication is usually taken twice a day by mouth.

  • Swallow capsule(s) whole with a glass of water. Do not open or dissolve the capsules.

  • You may need more than 1 capsule to make up the full dose. Make sure you identify the correct number of capsules to take to get the right dose.

  • Take with food.

  • If you miss a dose, skip this and take your next dose as you normally do. Do not take an extra dose to make up for the missed dose.

  • If you vomit (throw up) after taking a dose, skip this and take your next dose as you normally do. Do not take a replacement dose.

What else do I need to know while on this medication?
  • This medication can interact with other medications and can result in the treatment not working as well or cause severe side effects.

  • Make sure your health care team knows about all your medications (prescription, over-the-counter, herbals and supplements). Check with your health care team before starting or stopping any of them.

  • Do not eat or drink grapefruit, starfruit, Seville oranges or their juices (or products that contain these) while taking this drug. They may increase the amount of drug in your blood and increase side effects. 

  • Drinking alcohol and smoking during your treatment may increase some side effects and make your medication less effective. Speak to your health care team about smoking and drinking alcohol while on treatment.

  • Alectinib may make your skin more sensitive to the sun.  Limit your exposure to the sun and tanning beds while taking alectinib and for 7 days after the last dose.  If exposure to the sun cannot be avoided, you must apply sunscreen and lip balm with UVA and UVB protection and an SPF of at least 50. 
  • Alectinib may affect your ability to drive and use machines. If you feel dizzy, weak, or tired, or have problems with your eyes while taking Alectinib, do no drive or use tools or machines.
How should I safely store this medication?
  • Keep this medication in the original packaging at room temperature in a dry place, away from heat and light. Keep out of sight and reach of children and pets.

  • Do not throw out any unused medications at home. Bring them to your pharmacy to be thrown away safely.

What are the side effects of this medication?

You may not have all of the side effects below. You may have side effects that are not listed.

Side effects and what to do When to contact doctor?
Very Common Side Effects (50 or more out of 100 people)

Anemia (low red blood cells)

  • You may feel more tired or weak than normal and have pale skin.
  • This may occur in days to weeks after you start or receive your medication.
  • Rest often and eat well.
  • Light exercise, such as walking may help.
  • You may need medication or a blood transfusion.
  • If it is very bad, your doctor may ask you to stop the medication that is causing the low red blood cells.
Contact your health care team if no improvement or if severe

Abnormal liver lab tests (may be severe)

  • You may have yellowish skin or eyes, unusually dark pee or pain on the right side of your belly. Talk to your health care team if this happens.
  • Your doctor may monitor your liver regularly with a blood test.
Contact your health care team if no improvement or if severe

 

Side effects and what to do When to contact doctor?
Common Side Effects (25-49 out of 100 people)

Abnormal kidney lab tests (may be severe)

  • Signs of a kidney problem include swelling, passing very little or no pee, or new unusual weight gain. If you have these signs, call your health care team or go to your closest emergency department.
  • To prevent bladder or kidney problems, drink lots of water or other liquids. Your doctor may ask you to drink at least 6 to 8 cups (2 L) per day on treatment days, unless you have been told otherwise.
  • Your doctor may check your kidney function regularly.
Contact your health care team if no improvement or if severe

Breakdown of muscle cells

  • This is usually mild and seen only with abnormal muscle enzyme levels on a blood test.
  • If the muscle enzymes are very high, it's possible you may have severe muscle pain or weakness and dark-coloured pee.
  • This can cause kidney problems.
Get emergency medical help right away

Constipation

To help prevent constipation :

  • Drink more liquids and eat well. Drink at least 6 to 8 cups of liquids each day unless you have been told otherwise.
  • Be Active. Exercise can help to keep you regular.
  • Try to eat more fiber (e.g. fruits with skin, leafy greens and whole grains). If you take opioid pain medication, ask your health care team if eating more fibre is right for you.

To help treat constipation :

  • If you have not had a bowel movement in 2 to 3 days you may need to take a laxative. Ask your health care team what to do.

See the Constipation Pamphlet for more information.

Contact your health care team if no improvement or if severe

Fatigue (tiredness)

  • Be active and aim to get 30 minutes of moderate exercise (you are able to talk comfortably while exercising) on most days. Check with your health care team before starting any new exercise.
  • Pace yourself, do not rush. Put off less important activities. Rest when you need to.
  • Eat well and stay hydrated by drinking at least 6 to 8 glasses of water or other liquids every day (unless your doctor told you to drink more or less).
  • Avoid driving or using machinery if you are feeling tired

See our Fatigue pamphlet for more information. 

Contact your health care team if no improvement or if severe

 

Side effects and what to do When to contact doctor?
Less Common Side Effects (10 to 24 out of 100 people)

Mild joint, muscle pain or cramps 

  • Take your pain medication as prescribed by your doctor.
  • You can take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) tablets as needed for mild aches and pains. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the right dose for you.
  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist first before taking ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®), naproxen (Aleve®) or aspirin. These medication may increase bleeding risk.
  • Rest often and try light exercise as it may help.
Contact your health care team if no improvement or if severe

Mild swelling in arms and legs; puffiness

To help prevent swelling :

  • Eat a low-salt diet.
  • Avoid tight fitting clothing.

If you have swelling in your legs, keep your feet up when sitting.

Contact your health care team if no improvement or if severe

 Rash; skin sensitivity to sunlight

Rash may be severe in some rare cases and cause your skin to blister or peel. If this happens, get emergency medical help right away.

To prevent and treat dry skin,

  • Use skin moisturizer.
  • Protect your skin from the sun and the cold.
  • Use sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection and a SPF of at least 30.
Contact your health care team if no improvement or if severe

Nausea and vomiting (generally mild)

May occur in hours to days after your treatment. 

If you have nausea or vomiting:

  • Take anti-nausea medication(s) as prescribed to you by your doctor. 
  • Drink clear liquids and have small meals. Get fresh air and rest.
  • Do not eat spicy, fried foods or foods with a strong smell.
  • Limit caffeine (e.g. coffee, tea) and alcohol.
  • Contact your health care team if the prescribed anti-nausea medications are not helping to control your nausea and vomiting.

 Also see Nausea & Vomiting pamphlet for more information.

Contact your healthcare team if nausea lasts more than 48 hours or vomiting lasts more than 24 hours

Diarrhea

May happen days to weeks after you get your treatment.

If you have diarrhea :

  • Take anti-diarrhea medication if your health care team prescribed it.
  • Avoid foods or drinks with artificial sweetener (e.g. chewing gum, “diet” drinks), coffee and alcohol.
  • Eat many small meals and snacks instead of 2 or 3 large meals.
  • Drink at least 6 to 8 cups of liquids each day. Talk to your health care team if you can’t drink 6-8 cups of liquids each day when you have diarrhea. You may need special liquids with salt and sugar, called Oral Rehydration Therapy.

​See the Diarrhea pamphlet for more information.

Contact your health care team if no improvement or if severe

Irregular or slow heartbeat, fainting spells

Get emergency medical help right away

Other rare, but serious side effects are possible. If you experience ANY of the following, speak to your cancer health care provider or get emergency medical help right away:

  • Shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling in your legs, ankles and belly.
  • New cough or breathing problems.
  • Sudden severe pain in your belly or stomach area, vomiting.
  • Dry or watering eyes, redness, irritation, pain, and sensitivity to light or blurred vision.

 


For more links on how to manage your symptoms go to www.cancercareontario.ca/symptoms.

The information set out in the medication information sheets, regimen information sheets, and symptom management information (for patients) contained in the Drug Formulary (the "Formulary") is intended to be used by health professionals and patients for informational purposes only. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or side effects of a certain drug, nor should it be used to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for a given condition.

A patient should always consult a healthcare provider if he/she has any questions regarding the information set out in the Formulary. The information in the Formulary is not intended to act as or replace medical advice and should not be relied upon in any such regard. All uses of the Formulary are subject to clinical judgment and actual prescribing patterns may not follow the information provided in the Formulary.