Posted on October 18th, 2010 by

Class: Targeted Therapy

Generic Name: Sorafenib

Trade Name: Nexavar®

How is this drug used? Nexavar is FDA approved for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) as well as for the treatment of hepatocellular cancer (liver cancer) that cannot be surgically removed. It is important for patients to remember that physicians have the ability to prescribe medication for conditions other than those for which the drug has been approved by the FDA. Patients who have received a prescription of this drug for a condition other than for which it is approved may wish to discuss this issue with their physician.

What is the mechanism of action? Nexavar blocks the growth of cancer cells by inhibiting several biological pathways that are involved in cellular replication and spread.

How is Nexavar® typically given (administered)? Nexavar® is taken orally, typically twice per day. Patients should take Nexavar® on an empty stomach.

How are patients typically monitored? Patients will usually have scheduled meetings with their healthcare provider while they are being treated with Nexavar. Typically, blood will be drawn to check levels of blood cells and to monitor functions of some organ systems, such as the kidneys or liver. Physical examinations, scans or other measures may also be utilized to assess side effects and response to therapy.

What are the common side effects of treatment with Nexavar?

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Rash/skin peeling
  • Hand-foot skin reaction (redness, pain, swelling, or blisters on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet)
  • Hair loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain

What are some of the less common side effects to be aware of?

  • Heart problems (such as decreased blood flow to the heart or heart attack)
  • Bleeding
  • High blood pressure
  • Bowel perforation
  • Wound healing problems

This is not a complete list of side effects. Some patients may experience other side effects that are not listed above. Patients may wish to discuss with their physician the other less common side effects of this drug, some of which may be serious.

Some side effects may require medical attention. Other side effects do not require medical attention and may go away during treatment. Patients should check with their physician about any side effects that continue or are bothersome.

What can patients do to help alleviate or prevent discomfort and side effects?

  • Pay careful attention to the physician’s instructions and inform the physician of any side effects.
  • Maintain adequate rest and nutrition.
  • Avoid activities that may cause injury or bruising.
  • Use a soft toothbrush and an electric razor to prevent cuts on the mouth or skin.
  • Eat small meals frequently to help alleviate nausea.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (patients should ask their physician about the amount of liquid to consume during a day).

Are there any special precautions patients should be aware of before starting treatment?

  • Patients should inform their physician if they are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a family in the near future. This drug may cause birth defects. It is important to use a form of birth control while undergoing treatment. Also, patients may want to talk to their physician if they are considering having children in the future since some drugs may cause fertility problems.
  • It is important that patients inform their physician of any pre-existing conditions, including allergies, heart problems or chest pain, bleeding problems, high blood pressure, kidney problems, or liver problems.
  • Patients should inform their physician of any other medication they are taking (whether prescription or over-the-counter, including vitamins, herbs, etc.) as they may interfere with treatment.
  • Patients should check with their physician before starting any new drug or nutritional supplement.
  • Patients should inform their physician of any known drug or food allergies or any reactions to medications they have experienced in the past.

When should patients notify their physician?

Tell your doctor if you experience any side effects that bother you or don’t go away. Seek care immediately if you notice symptoms of heart problems, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, feeling lightheaded or faint, nausea, vomiting, or sweating a lot.  Also notify your doctor if you experience bleeding problems, skin reactions, or signs of bowel perforation (such as high fever, nausea, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain). Tell your doctor if you need to have any surgical or dental procedures; Nexavar can cause problems with wound healing.

What is a package insert?

A package insert is required by the FDA and contains a summary of the essential scientific information needed for the safe and effective use of the drug by healthcare providers and consumers. A package insert typically includes information regarding specific indications, administration schedules, dosing, side effects, contraindications, results from some clinical trials, chemical structure, pharmacokinetics, and metabolism of the specific drug. By carefully reviewing the package insert, you will get the most complete and current information about how to safely use this drug. If you do not have the package insert for the drug you are using, your pharmacist or physician may be able to provide you with a copy.

Copyright © 2016 CancerConnect Last updated 09/11.

Important Limitations of Use

The information provided above on the drug you have selected is provided for your information only and is not a substitute for consultation with an appropriate medical doctor. We are providing this information solely as a courtesy and, as such, it is in no way a recommendation as to the safety, efficacy or appropriateness of any particular drug, regimen, dosing schedule for any particular cancer, condition or patient nor is it in any way to be considered medical advice. Patients should discuss the appropriateness of a particular drug or chemotherapy regimen with their physician.

As with any printed reference, the use of particular drugs, regimens and drug dosages may become out-of-date over time, since new information may have been published and become generally accepted after the latest update to this printed information. Please keep in mind that health care professionals are fully responsible for practicing within current standards, avoiding use of outdated regimens, employing good clinical judgment in selecting drugs and/or regimens, in calculating doses for individual patients, and verifying all dosage calculations.



The prescribing physician is solely responsible for making all decisions relating to appropriate patient care including, but not limited to, drugs, regimens, dose, schedule, and any supportive care.

Tags: Miscellaneous, N

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