Crizotinib (Generic Name)

Other Names: Xalkori®

About This Drug

Crizotinib is used to treat cancer. It is given by mouth.

Possible Side Effects (Most Common)

  • Vision problems.  These usually happen within 2 weeks of starting crizotinib. Tell your doctor right away if you have any change in vision such as flashes of light, blurred vision, or light hurting your eyes.
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Swelling of your hands and feet

Possible Side Effects (Serious)

  • Life-threatening swelling (inflammation) of the lungs may occur. Symptoms may be similar to the symptoms of lung cancer. Tell your doctor right away if you have any new or worsening symptoms, including trouble breathing or shortness of breath, cough with or without mucous, or fever.
  • Liver problems. Your doctor will do blood tests to check your liver. Tell your doctor right away if you have any of the following: your skin or whites of your eyes turn yellow, you feel tired, your urine turns dark or brown (tea color), you have nausea or vomiting, you have a decreased appetite, you have pain on the right side of your stomach, or you bleed or bruise more easily than normal.
  • Changes in your heart beat possibly with a very fast or abnormal heartbeats. Your doctor will check your heart during treatment  as needed. Tell your doctor right away if you have abnormal heartbeats,  feel dizzy, or faint.

Sexual Problems and Reproduction Concerns

Pregnancy Warning:  This drug may have harmful effects on an unborn child. For this reason, men and women should use effective methods of birth control during cancer treatment and for at least 3 months after stopping this drug. Speak with your doctor or nurse about effective methods of birth control.

If you are exposed to this drug while pregnant, ask to speak to a genetic counselor. A genetic counselor can review the potential risks of problems with the fetus and with future pregnancies.

Breastfeeding  Warning:  It is not known whether this drug is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.

Treating Side Effects

  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine to help prevent or lessen diarrhea, constipation, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Check with your doctor or nurse before you use enemas, laxatives, or suppositories.

Food and Drug Interactions

  • Crizotinib may be taken with or without food.
  • Swallow capsules whole.  Do not crush, dissolve, or open capsules.
  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is close to your next dose (within 6 hours), just take your next dose at your regular time. 
  • Do not take more than 1 dose at a time.
  • Crizotinib may interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs, and others) that you are currently taking. The safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often unknown. Using these might unexpectedly affect your cancer or interfere with your treatment. Until more is known, you should not use dietary supplements or alternative diets without your cancer doctor’s advice.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • New or worsening trouble breathing or shortness of breath, cough with or without mucous
  • Temperature of 100.5 F (38 C) or above
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea of 5 or 6 stools in a day or diarrhea with weakness
  • Uncontrolled nausea that keeps you from eating or drinking 
  • Vomiting more than 3 times in a day
  • Any change in vision such as flashes of light, blurred vision, or light hurting your eyes
  • Signs of liver problems such as:  skin or whites of your eyes turn yellow, you feel tired, your urine turns dark or brown (tea color), you have nausea and  vomiting, a decreased appetite, pain on the right side of your stomach or you bleed or bruise more easily than normal.
  • Abnormal heartbeats, feel dizzy, or faint
  • Severe headache

Call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea, vomiting,  diarrhea, or constipation that does not go away with prescribed medicine.
  • Extreme fatigue and weakness that interfere with daily activities.

New September 2011

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