Vandetanib is used to treat a certain type of thyroid cancer that cannot be treated by surgery or that has spread to other parts of the body. Vandetanib is in a class of medications called kinase inhibitors. It works by blocking the action of an abnormal protein that signals cancer cells to multiply. This helps slow or stop the spread of cancer cells.

Side Effects Of Vandetanib

Vandetanib may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • heartburn
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • stomach pain
  • runny nose
  • extreme tiredness
  • weakness
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • depression

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the WARNING section, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:

  • diarrhea
  • rash or acne
  • dry, peeling, or itchy skin
  • blisters or sores on the skin or in the mouth
  • redness of the face, hands, or soles of the feet
  • muscle or joint aches
  • fever
  • chest pain (which may get worse with deep breaths or cough)
  • hiccups or rapid breathing
  • sudden shortness of breath
  • persistent cough
  • swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • sudden weight gain
  • numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • sudden confusion
  • difficulty speaking or understanding
  • sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • sudden trouble walking or balancing
  • sudden severe headache
  • seizures
  • unusual bruising or bleeding

Vandetanib may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

Warnings & Precautions

Before taking vandetanib:

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to vandetanib, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in vandetanib tablets. Ask your pharmacist or check the Medication Guide for a list of the ingredients.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and nutritional supplements you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention the medications listed in the WARNING section and any of the following: carbamazepine (Tegretol, Carbatrol, Equetro), dexamethasone, phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek), rifabutin (Mycobutin), rifampin (Rifadin, in Rifamate), rifapentin (Priftin), and thyroid hormones such as levothyroxine (Synthroid). 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 vandetanib, 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. Johns Wort.
  • tell your doctor if you have recently coughed up blood or had any other type of bleeding problems and if you have or have ever had high blood pressure, any type of skin disease, seizures, or lung, kidney, or liver disease.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not become pregnant while you are taking vandetanib and for at least 4 months after your treatment. Talk to your doctor about birth control methods that you can use during your treatment. If you become pregnant while taking vandetanib, call your doctor immediately. Vandetanib may harm the fetus.
  • tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking vandetanib.
  • you should know that vandetanib may make you feel drowsy, weak, or cause blurred vision. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
  • plan to avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to sunlight and to wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Vandetanib may make your skin sensitive to sunlight during your treatment and for at least 4 months after stopping your treatment.

Dosage Of Vandetanib

Vandetanib comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken with or without food once a day. Take vandetanib at around the same time 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 vandetanib exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Swallow the tablets whole with a glass of water. Do not split, chew, or crush them. If a tablet is accidentally crushed, avoid contact with your skin. If any contact occurs, wash the affected area well with water.

If you are unable to swallow the tablets whole, you may dissolve them in water. Place the tablet in a glass that contains 2 ounces of plain, non-carbonated drinking water. Do not use any other liquid to dissolve the tablet. Stir the mixture for about 10 minutes until the tablet is in very small pieces; the tablet will not dissolve completely. Drink the mixture right away. Rinse the glass with another 4 ounces of non-carbonated water and drink the rinse water to be sure that you swallow all of the medication.

Your doctor may decrease your dose of vandetanib or tell you to stop taking vandetanib for a period of time during your treatment. This depends on how well the medication works for you and the side effects you experience. Talk to your doctor about how you are feeling during your treatment. Continue to take vandetanib even if you feel well. Do not stop taking vandetanib without talking to your doctor.


Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your body’s response to vandetanib. Your doctor will also check your blood pressure regularly during your treatment with vandetanib.

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.