Everolimus (Afinitor) is used to treat advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC; cancer that begins in the kidneys) that has already been treated unsuccessfully with other medications. Everolimus (Afinitor) is also used to treat a certain type of advanced breast cancer that has already been treated with at least one other medication. Everolimus (Afinitor) is also used to treat a certain type of cancer of the pancreas, stomach, intestines, or lungs that has spread or progressed and that cannot be treated with surgery. Everolimus (Afinitor) is also used to treat kidney tumors in people with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC; a genetic condition that causes tumors to grow in many organs). Everolimus (Afinitor and Afinitor Disperz) is also used to treat subependymal giant cell astrocytoma (SEGA; a type of brain tumor) in adults and children 1 year of age and older who have TSC. Everolimus (Afinitor Disperz) is also used along with other medications to treat certain types of seizures in adults and children 2 years of age and older who have TSC. Everolimus (Zortress) is used with other medications to prevent transplant rejection (attack of the transplanted organ by the immune system of the person who received the organ) in certain adults who have received kidney transplants. Everolimus is in a class of medications called kinase inhibitors. Everolimus treats cancer by stopping cancer cells from reproducing and by decreasing blood supply to the cancer cells. Everolimus prevents transplant rejection by decreasing the activity of the immune system.
Side Effects Of Everolimus
Everolimus may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- change in the ability to taste food
- weight loss
- dry mouth
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- dry skin
- problems with nails
- hair loss
- pain in the arms, legs, back, or joints
- muscle cramps
- missed or irregular menstrual periods
- heavy menstrual bleeding
- difficulty getting or keeping an erection
- aggression or other changes in behavior
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:
- swelling of the hands, feet, arms, legs, eyes, face, mouth, lips, tongue, or throat
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- chest pain
- extreme thirst or hunger
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- pale skin
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- Everolimus may decrease fertility in men and women. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking everolimus.
Everolimus may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking everolimus:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to everolimus, sirolimus (Rapamune), temsirolimus (Torisel), any other medications, or any of the ingredients in everolimus tablets. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and nutritional supplements you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention the medications listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section and any of the following: angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors such as benazepril (Lotensin), captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), fosinopril (Monopril), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), moexipril (Univasc) perindopril (Aceon), quinapril (Accupril), ramipril (Altace), or trandolapril (Mavik); amprenavir (Agenerase), atazanavir (Reyataz),aprepitant (Emend), carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Tegretol),clarithromycin (Biaxin, in Prevpac), digoxin (Digitek, Lanoxicaps, Lanoxin), diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac), efavirenz (in Atripla, Sustiva), erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin), fluconazole (Diflucan), fosamprenavir (Lexiva), indinavir (Crixivan), itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral), nelfinavir (Viracept), nefazodone, nevirapine (Viramune), nicardipine (Cardene), phenobarbital (Luminal), phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek), rifabutin (Mycobutin), rifampin (Rifadin, in Rifamate, in Rifater), rifapentine (Priftin), ritonavir (Norvir, in Kaletra), saquinavir (Invirase),telithromycin (Ketek), verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan).and voriconazole (Vfend). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. Many other medications may also interact with everolimus, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.
- tell your doctor what herbal products you are taking, especially St. John’s wort.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had diabetes or high blood sugar; high levels of cholesterol or triglycerides in your blood; kidney or liver disease; or any condition that prevents you from digesting foods containing sugar, starch, or dairy products normally.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant If you are a woman who is able to become pregnant, you must use effective birth control during your treatment and for 8 weeks after your final dose. If you are male with a female partner who could become pregnant, you must use effective birth control during your treatment and for 4 weeks after your final dose. Talk to your doctor about methods of birth control that will work for you. If you or your partner become pregnant while taking everolimus, call your doctor. Everolimus may harm the fetus. Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding. Do not breastfeed during your treatment and for 2 weeks after your final dose.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking everolimus.
- do not have any vaccinations without talking to your doctor. During your treatment with everolimus, you should avoid close contact with other people who have recently been vaccinated.
- talk to your child’s doctor about vaccinations that your child may need to receive before beginning his or her treatment with everolimus.
- you should know that you may develop sores or swelling in your mouth during your treatment with everolimus, especially during the first 8 weeks of treatment. When you start treatment with everolimus, your doctor may prescribe a certain mouthwash to reduce the chance that you will get mouth ulcers or sores and to reduce their severity. Follow your doctor’s instructions on how to use this mouthwash. Tell your doctor if you develop sores or feel pain in your mouth. You should not use any mouthwash without talking to your doctor or pharmacist because certain types of mouthwash that contain alcohol, peroxide, iodine, or thyme can worsen the sores and swelling.
- you should know that wounds or cuts, including the cut in the skin made during a kidney transplant, may heal more slowly than normal or may not heal properly during your treatment with everolimus. Call your doctor right away if the cut in the skin from your kidney transplant or any other wound becomes warm, red, painful, or swollen; fills with blood, fluid, or pus; or begins to open.
Dosage Of Everolimus
Everolimus comes as a tablet to take by mouth and as a tablet to suspend in water and take by mouth. When everolimus is taken to treat kidney tumors, SEGA, or seizures in people who have TSC; RCC; or breast, pancreatic, stomach, intestine, or lung cancer, it is usually taken once a day. When everolimus is taken to prevent transplant rejection, it is usually taken twice a day (every 12 hours) at the same time as cyclosporine. Everolimus should either always be taken with food or always without food. Take everolimus at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take everolimus exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Everolimus tablets come in individual blister packs that can be opened with scissors. Do not open a blister pack until you are ready to swallow the tablet it contains.
You should take either everolimus tablets or everolimus tablets for oral suspension. Do not take a combination of both of these products.
Swallow the tablets whole with a full glass of water; do not split, chew, or crush them. Do not take tablets that have been crushed or broken. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are not able to swallow the tablets whole.
If you are taking the tablets for oral suspension (Afinitor Disperz), you must mix them with water before use. Do not swallow these tablets whole, and do not mix them with juice or any liquid other than water. Do not prepare the mixture more than 60 minutes before you plan to use it, and dispose of the mixture if it is not used after 60 minutes. Do not prepare the medication on a surface that you use to prepare or eat food. If you will be preparing the medication for someone else, you should wear gloves to prevent contact with the medication. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, you should avoid preparing the medication for someone else, because contact with everolimus may harm your unborn baby.
You can mix the tablets for oral suspension in an oral syringe or in a small glass. To prepare the mixture in an oral syringe, remove the plunger from a 10-mL oral syringe and place the prescribed number of tablets in the barrel of the syringe without breaking or crushing the tablets. You can prepare up to 10 mg of everolimus in a syringe at one time, so if your dose is greater than 10 mg, you will need to prepare it in a second syringe. Replace the plunger in the syringe and draw about 5 mL of water and 4 mL of air into the syringe and place the syringe into a container with the tip pointing up. Wait 3 minutes to allow the tablets to go into suspension. then pick up the syringe and gently turn it up and down it five times. Place the syringe into the patient’s mouth and push the plunger to administer the medication. After the patient has swallowed the medication, refill the same syringe with 5 mL of water and 4 mL of air and swirl the syringe to rinse out any particles that are still in the syringe. Give this mixture to the patient to be sure that he or she receives all of the medication.
To prepare the mixture in a glass, place the prescribed number of tablets into a small drinking glass that holds no more than 100 mL (about 3 ounces) without crushing or breaking the tablets. You can prepare up to 10 mg of everolimus in a glass at one time, so if your dose is greater than 10 mg, you will need to prepare it in a second glass. Add 25 mL (about 1 ounce) of water to the glass. Wait 3 minutes and then gently stir the mixture with a spoon. Have the patient drink the entire mixture immediately. Add another 25 mL of water to the glass and stir with the same spoon to rinse out any particles that are still in the glass. Have the patient drink this mixture to be sure that he or she receives all of the medication.
Your doctor may adjust your dose of everolimus during your treatment depending on the results of your blood tests, your response to the medication, side effects you experience, and changes in other medications that you take with everolimus. If you are taking everolimus to treat SEGA or seizures, your doctor will adjust your dose not more often than once every 1 to 2 weeks, and if you are taking everolimus to prevent transplant rejection, your doctor will adjust your dose not more often than once every 4 to 5 days. Your doctor may stop your treatment for a time if you experience severe side effects. Talk to your doctor about how you are feeling during your treatment with everolimus.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.