Sutent (Sunitinib)

Warning: Sunitinib can cause serious heart problem. The use of the medication has been associated with dysfunction of the heart’s left ventricle. Myocardial disorders, cardiomyopathy, and heart failure have all been experienced while using this medication, and may lead to fatality.

The use of this drub has also been associated with hemorrhagic events within the urinary tract, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and brain. Intra-tumor hemorrhage has also been observed and can take place suddenly and be life-threatening.

This medication can induce hepatoxicity which, in turn, can lead to potentially fatal liver failure. Seek medical treatment immediately if you experience symptoms of liver dysfunction such as a yellowing of the eyes or skin, itching, dark urine, or pain in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen.

Sterility is another significant risk that can result from treatment with this medication. Discuss this possibility thoroughly with your physician before initiating treatment.

Indications : A generic form of the cancer drug Sutent, Sunitinib is a multikinase inhibitor. Its function is to interrupt the pathways that support cancerous cell growth. It also fights tumor growth by inhibiting the development of blood vessels within the tumor, thus starving it of oxygen and nutrients.

This medication is indicated for treatment in the following forms of cancer. Inoperable and advanced pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors are a form of cancer that affects the pancreas. Renal cell carcinoma is a cancer of the kidneys. Gastrointestinal stromal tumor is a rare form of cancer that affects the gastrointestinal tract, including the esophagus, stomach, and bowel.

Sutent can be used to treat other medical conditions not mentioned in the article; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

 Sutent is available in capsule form to be taken by mouth. For the forms of pancreatic and kidney cancer indicated for treatment with Sunitinib, a 50 mg capsule should be ingested by mouth once daily. This course of treatment should be followed for four weeks, after which a two week drug holiday should be taken. For treatment of the relevant gastrointestinal cancer, a 37.5 mg dosage is appropriate. This dosage should be taken in the form of one 25 mg and one 12.5 mg capsule, taking simultaneously and by mouth, once daily. In this course of treatment, no off-treatment period should occur. This medication can be taken with food or on an empty stomach.

 This is a strong chemotherapy drug; overdosingany it can be fatal. The risk is even higher when the drug is overdosed for a long period of time. In fact, overdosing of certain chemotherapy drugs, including Sutent, can lead to death. Even in the absence of overdose, Sutent tend to affect the bone marrow, and lead to decreased blood cells count. It is extremely important that you take Sutent as indicated by your physician or pharmacist; don’t ever take more.

Missing dose: patients should take the drug around the same time every day; do not miss or take less of it. In case you forget to take a dose, take the missed one as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, do not double the next dose to recover the missed one; it can be dangerous. Contact your doctor or wait to go back to your regular schedule.

Storage: keep Sutent tightly closed in the container it came, out of the reach of children. Store it at room temperature, away from heat, light and moisture. Sutent and all other medications should not be used beyond the expiration date printed on the container.

Contraindication: Sutent is contraindicated or should be used with precaution in the following conditions:

  • allergic to Sutent or one of its components
  • children
  • pregnancy
  • breast-feeding
  • history of heart failure
  • angina
  • coronary insufficiency
  • port of vascular clip
  • history of heart failure or stroke
  • Pulmonary embolism

Mechanism of action (MOA): Sutent is an inhibitor of tyrosine kinase; it acts by blocking the action of tyrosine kinases, abnormal protein that signals cancer cells to multiply.

Interactions: Plasma concentrations of this medication may occur in the presence of strong CYP3A4 inhibitors. If a medication alternative to a CYP3A4 inhibitor can be used during treatment with Sunitinib, this is recommended. Otherwise, it is recommended that the dosage of this medication be reduced to 37.5 mg for advanced renal carcinoma and gastrointestinal stromal tumor, and to 25 mg for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.

Side effects: In addition to attacking cancer cells, sutent also interfere with certain normal cells, leading to the development of number of adverse effects. Most common Sutent side effects include:

  • weight loss
  • hair loss
  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • nausea and vomiting
  • gas and/or heartburn
  • sores on your lips or mouth
  • dry mouth
  • change in taste
  • decreased appetite
  • slow speech
  • depression
  • skin rash
  • muscle or limb pain
  • Pain, burning, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet.

If the side effects above persist for weeks, contact your oncologist. In addition, contact your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • signs of infection: fever, sore throat, chills, etc.
  • rapid, irregular, or pounding heartbeat
  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • black and tarry stools
  • blood in stools or/and urine
  • bloody vomit
  • chest pain
  • sudden weight gain
  • stomach pain or swelling
  • swelling of your feet or ankles
  • swelling, tenderness, warmth, or redness of a leg
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Coughing up bloody mucus


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