Posted on October 21st, 2010 by
Class: Targeted therapy
Generic Name: Sunitinib malate (soo-NI-too-nib MA-late)
Trade Name: Sutent®
For what conditions is this drug used? Sunitinib malate is FDA approved for the treatment of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) after cancer progression, for patients intolerant of imatinib mesylate (Gleevec®), and for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer). If your doctor has prescribed this drug for a different condition, keep in mind that doctors have the ability to prescribe medication for conditions other than those for which the drug has been approved by the FDA; you should discuss this issue with your doctor.
What is the mechanism of action? Sunitinib is classified as a multi-kinase inhibitor. It inhibits pathways of a cell that are involved in growth and replication of a cell; these pathways are also implicated in the spread of cancer in the body.
How is sunitinib malate given (administered)? Sunitinib is given in the form of a capsule and is taken orally. It is typically taken once per day for four weeks followed by two weeks of not taking the drug.
How are patients monitored? Patients will usually have scheduled meetings with their healthcare provider while being treated with sunitinib malate. Physical examinations, scans, or other measures may be performed to assess side effects and response to therapy. Blood may be drawn to monitor functions of some organs, such as the liver.
What are the common (occur in 30% or more of patients) side effects of treatment with sunitinib?
What are the less common (occur in 10% to 29% of patients) side effects of treatment with sunitinib?
What can patients do to help alleviate or prevent discomfort and side effects?
Are there any special precautions patients should be aware of before starting treatment?
When should patients notify their physician?
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 for 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.
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