Sunitinib - Benefits, dosage and side effects

Sunitinib is a drug to treat gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), a tumor that grows in the stomach, intestines, or esophagus. This drug is usually given if the patient cannot be treated with other anticancer drugs, such as imatinib.

Sunitinib is an anticancer drug class kinase inhibitor or protein kinase inhibitors. This drug works by inhibiting the performance of protein tyrosine kinase, so that the growth and spread of cancer cells can be inhibited.

Sunitinib is also used to treat pancreatic cancer, kidney cancermetastatic renal cell carcinoma (MRCC), as well as as an adjunct therapy to prevent the recurrence of kidney cancer after surgery.

sunitinib trademark: Sutent

What is Sunitinib

groupPrescription drugs
CategoryProtein kinase inhibitor class of anticancer drugs
BenefitTreatgastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), pancreatic cancer, and metastatic renal cell carcinomaand to prevent the recurrence of kidney cancer
Consumed byMature
Sunitinib for pregnant and lactating womenCategory D:There is positive evidence of risks to the human fetus, but the benefits may outweigh the risks, for example in dealing with life-threatening situations.

It is not known whether Sunitinib is absorbed into breast milk or not. If you are breastfeeding, do not use this medicine without consulting your doctor first.

Drug formCapsule

Precautions Before Taking Sunitinib

Sunitinib should only be taken as prescribed by a doctor. Before taking sunitinib, you need to pay attention to the following:

  • Tell your doctor about any allergies you have. Sunitinib should not be given to patients who are allergic to this drug.
  • Don't consumegrapefruitduring treatment with sunitab, because it can cause side effects.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy. Use birth control to prevent pregnancy while on treatment with sunitinib.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or have had liver disease, kidney disease, hypoglycemia, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, aneurysms, blood clotting disorders, osteonecrosis, heart rhythm disorders, or thyroid disease.
  • Tell your doctor that you are taking sunitinib if you plan to have certain medical procedures, such as surgery or dental surgery.
  • Tell your doctor if you plan to get vaccinated while taking sunitinib. Also avoid contact with people who have recently received the oral polio vaccine or flu vaccine.
  • Do not give sunitinib to children younger than 18 years of age.
  • See your doctor right away if you have an overdose, drug allergic reaction, or a more serious side effect after taking sunitinib.

Sunitinib Dosage and Use

Your doctor will determine the dose and duration of treatment with sunitinib based on your age, condition, and your body's response to the drug. The following is the dose of sunitinib for adults based on the patient's condition:

Condition:Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) and metastatic renal cell carcinoma (MRCC)

  • The dose is 50 mg, once per day, for 4 weeks, followed by a 2-week period without treatment. Thereafter, the 4-week cycle of treatment was repeated.

Condition: Pancreatic cancer

  • Dosage 37.5 mg, 1 time per day. The dose can be increased or decreased by 12.5 mg, depending on the patient's response. The maximum dose is 87.5 mg per day.

How to Take Sunitinib Correctly

Make sure you read the directions on the medicine package and follow your doctor's advice when taking sunitinib. Do not increase or decrease the dose without consulting your doctor first.

Take sunitinib regularly at the same time each day. Sunitinib can be taken before or after meals. Swallow the medicine whole with the help of a glass of water, do not chew or crush it.

If you forget to take sunitinib, take it immediately if the break with the next consumption schedule is not too close. If it is close, ignore it and do not double the dose.

Make sure to do the control according to the schedule given by the doctor. During treatment with sunitinib, you may be asked to have regular oral and dental examinations, to prevent problems with the jawbone, such as osteonecrosis.

Avoid eating or drinking juice grapefruit while taking sunitinib, because it can increase the risk of side effects.

Store sunitinib in a dry, closed place away from direct sunlight. Keep this medicine out of reach of children.

Sunitinib Interactions with Other Drugs

There are several drug interactions that can occur when sunitinib is used together with other medicines, including:

  • Increased blood levels of sunitinib when used with ketoconazole, itraconazole, ritonavir, nelfinavir, erythromycin, or fluvoxamine
  • Decreased blood levels of sunitinib when used with carbamazepine, phenobarbital, or rifampicin
  • Increased risk of agranulocytosis with clozapine
  • Increased risk of heart rhythm disturbances if used with amiodarone, dofetilide, dolasetron, chloroquine, pimozide, procainamide, or quinidine
  • Increased risk of bleeding if used with warfarin

In addition, if sunitinib is taken together grapefruit, there may be increased levels and effects of sunitinib. This can increase the risk of side effects.

Sunitinib Side Effects and Dangers

Some of the side effects that can occur after taking sunitinib are:

  • Indigestion, which is characterized by nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and decreased appetite
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Hair loss
  • Changes in the sense of taste
  • Dry and cracked skin
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms and legs

Check with your doctor if the side effects above do not subside or get worse. Immediately see a doctor if there is an allergic reaction to the drug which can be characterized by certain symptoms, such as an itchy rash, swollen eyes and lips, or difficulty breathing.

In addition, you should also see a doctor immediately if you experience more serious side effects, such as:

  • Headache
  • Severe thrush
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Swelling in the hands and feet
  • Black stool
  • Coughing up blood or black vomit
  • Low blood sugar, which can be characterized by hunger, shaking, fast heart rate, and sweating
  • Joint pain
  • Mood swings
  • Visual disturbance
  • Jaw pain, swollen gums, or missing teeth
  • Dizzy until you want to faint
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Seizures
  • Heart failure, which can be characterized by shortness of breath, swelling in the legs, fatigue, weight gain