What is Inlyta (Axitinib)?
Inlyta is an oral medication prescribed to treat kidney cancer. Inlyta contains the active ingredient axitinib, which belongs to a group of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors. It works to slow the growth of cancer cells.
Inlyta is supplied as tablets to be taken orally with or without food, usually twice per day. Doses are usually taken 12 hours apart with a full glass of water. Swallow the tablet whole; do not crush, split, chew, or dissolve this medication. Doing so will release all of the medication at once and can lead to negative side effects.
The prescribed dosage is based on the severity of your condition, your existing medication schedule, and your response to treatment. Inform your doctor of all medications you take on a regular basis, including prescription, non-prescription, and herbal supplements. Do not take more product or more frequently than instructed by your doctor. Do not share this medication with anyone else, even if they have the same condition as you. If you vomit up a dose of this medication, do not take another to make up for it. Take the following dose according to your medication schedule.
Store this medication in a location that will not exceed 77°F (25°C). Store away from direct sunlight and moisture. Do not keep in a bathroom. Keep out of reach of children and pets. Do not take expired medication. Dispose of expired or surplus medication responsibly, following the instructions of your healthcare professional. Do not flush medication down the toilet or sink.
Common Side Effects
All medication comes with a risk of side effects. It is important to recognize that your doctor has determined your risk of side effects is outweighed by the potential benefit this medication can provide. Side effects will differ between individuals, and it is possible that you may not experience any side effects at all. Inlyta is commonly associated with the following:
- Appetite loss
- Weight loss
- Temporary hair loss
- Changes in taste sensation
- Bowel changes such as constipation or diarrhea
If you experience these symptoms and they concern you, or they worsen or do not resolve on their own, contact your doctor right away.
Diarrhea can lead to dehydration, so it is important that you drink plenty of fluids to compensate. Signs of severe dehydration include dizziness and unusual dry mouth.
Axinitib can cause a mild or moderate skin reaction such as a benign rash. The rash itself is not usually serious, however it can be difficult to tell apart from a rash indicating a severe reaction. Therefore, all rashes developed while taking Inlyta should be taken seriously. Contact your doctor if you notice a rash.
Severe Side Effects
Occasionally, Inlyta can be associated with severe side effects that should be taken seriously. Tell your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following:
- Signs of kidney problems such as changes in urine output or foamy urine
- Pain in the muscles or joints
- Severe or unusual fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Mouth or throat sores
- Swelling, pain, or blisters on the palms or soles
- Slow wound healing
- Thyroid issues (unusual weight gain, intolerance to temperature changes), irregular heartbeat, tiredness)
- Liver problems (persistent nausea or vomiting, appetite loss, abdominal pain, yellowing skin or eyes, dark urine)
Inlyta can reduce your ability to fight infections, leading to increased susceptibility to catching infections or worsening existing infections. Avoid contact with people who have known contagious illnesses such as chickenpox or influenza, and contact your doctor right away if you think you may have been exposed. Tell your doctor if you develop signs of infection such as fever or sore throat.
Inlyta can lead to increased blood pressure. It is important that you monitor your blood pressure closely and tell your doctor of any abnormalities. Your doctor may want to add medication to control your blood pressure to your existing medication schedule.
Axitinib can lead to a condition called reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome (RPLS). If you develop a persistent headache, seizures, sudden abnormalities in vision, or unusual mood changes, get medical help immediately.
Axitinib can occasionally cause serious blood clots that can possibly be fatal. Examples include stroke, myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, or retinal artery occlusion. Severe dehydration or a medical history of blood clots, heart disease, or immobility increase the risk of blood clot formation. Estrogen-containing products such as the oral contraceptive pill can also increase the likelihood of clots. Seek emergency medical assistance immediately if you experience shortness of breath, short or shallow breathing, pain the left arm, chest, or jaw, unusual sweating, confusion or dizziness, pain or swelling in the groin or calf, sudden severe headaches, difficulty speaking, one-sided weakness, or sudden changes in vision.
Seek medical assistance right away if you experience persistent severe abdominal pain, bloody or black stools, vomit that resembles coffee grounds, or coughing/vomiting up blood.
A severe allergic reaction to Inlyta is rare, but not impossible. Do not take this medication if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. Seek medical help immediately if you experience a rash, itching, facial swelling, severe dizziness, or difficulty breathing.
This is not an exhaustive list of side effects associated with Inlyta. If you experience any unusual changes while taking this medication, contact your doctor for what to do next.
Warnings & Precautions
Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any of the ingredients of Inlyta before you start taking it. Also tell your doctor if you have a history of severe allergic reactions to other medication.
Ensure your doctor is aware of your complete personal and family medical history, especially of liver problems, kidney problems, high blood pressure, bleeding or clotting disorders, gastrointestinal ulcers, blood vessel abnormalities such as aneurysms, heart disease, or thyroid problems. These conditions are contraindicated with this medication and may prevent you from being able to take it.
Axitinib can make you more susceptible to infections or worsen existing infections. Avoid direct contact with people who have known contagious infections such as chickenpox or influenza. Tell your doctor if you think you may have been exposed to an infection.
Prior to having any vaccinations, tell your doctor that you are taking axitinib on a regular basis. Avoid direct contact with people who have recently had live vaccines.
Inlyta can cause dizziness, which can be exacerbated by alcohol or marijuana. Avoid operating heavy machinery (including driving) until you know how this medication affects you. Limit alcohol and marijuana use.
Prior to having surgery, ensure all medical personnel involved in your care are aware of all medications you take on a regular basis, including prescription and non-prescription. If possible, stop taking axitinib at least two days before having surgery.
This medication can harm an unborn fetus, and therefore people who are pregnant should not handle nor breathe the dust from this medication. If you are pregnant, intend to become pregnant, think you could be pregnant, or do become pregnant, do not take this medication. Fertile people with uterus’s should use reliable methods of birth control while taking this medication.
It is not known whether this medication can pass into breast milk. Breastfeeding is not recommended while taking this medication because of the risk it poses to the nursing infant. Wait at least two weeks after stopping this medication before breastfeeding. Ask your doctor for more information if you are unsure.
Interactions & Contraindications
Two or more medications taken alongside each other can interact with one another, changing how one or more function in the body or leading to unwanted side effects. It is therefore important that drug-drug interactions are minimized. Keep a comprehensive list of all medications you take on a regular basis, including prescription, non-prescription, and herbal supplements. Do not stop, start, or change the dosage of any medication without first consulting your doctor.
Avoid grapefruit and its juices while taking this medication, as it can interfere with the normal functioning of axitinib. Ask your doctor if you are unsure.
Taking other medications alongside this medication can affect the way axitinib is removed from the body, which can influence how it works. Examples of these include rifamycins (such as rifampin or rifabutin), seizure medications (such as phenytoin, carbamazepine, phenobarbital), St. John’s wort, bosentan, nafcillin, and dexamethasone, among more. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting or changing medications.
Frequently Asked Questions