Temsirolimus (Generic Name)
Other Names: Torisel®
About This Drug
Temsirolimus is a drug used to treat cancer. This drug is given in the vein (IV).
Possible Side Effects (More Common)
- Bone marrow depression. This is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This may raise your risk of infection, make you tired and weak (fatigue), and raise your risk of bleeding.
- Nausea and throwing up (vomiting). These symptoms may happen within a few hours or many hours after your treatment. Medicines are available to stop or lessen these side effects.
- Swelling of your legs, ankles and/or feet
- This drug may affect how your kidneys work. Your kidney function will be checked as needed.
- This drug may affect how your liver works. Your liver function will be checked as needed.
- This drug may increase your cholesterol level. Your cholesterol will be checked as needed.
- This drug may increase your blood sugar level. Your blood sugar will be checked as needed.
Possible Side Effects (Less Common)
- Slow wound healing. This drug should not be given within 28 days of surgery or any test or procedure that needs conscious sedation. If you must have emergency surgery or have an accident that results in a wound, tell the doctor that you are on temsirolimus. Call your cancer doctor as soon as possible for further orders.
- Bowel Perforation. This is a tear of the lining in the stomach, small or large bowel. The signs of bowel perforation can be stomach pain, bloody stools, loose or watery stools, fever, or electrolyte abnormalities. These are serious symptoms that should be reported to your doctor immediately.
- Changes in lung tissue may happen with large amounts of this drug. These changes may not last forever, and your lung tissue may go back to normal. Sometimes these changes may not be seen for many years. You may get a cough or have trouble catching your breath.
- A specific type of lung infection may happen while you are taking this drug. The incidence is higher if you are also taking steroids (e.g. prednisone, Decadron). Your doctor may put you on an antibiotic to lower your risk of this side effect. Tell your doctor right away if you get any fevers, chills or cough.
While you are getting this drug in your vein (IV), you may have a reaction. Your nurse will watch you closely for a reaction.
Less serious reactions to this drug may also happen. You will be given medicines to help stop or lessen these symptoms. Tell your doctor or nurse right away if you have any of these symptoms any time during the infusion and/or for the first 24 hours after getting this drug:
- Fever, chills, or shaking chills
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Nausea or throwing up
Treating Side Effects
- Drink 6-8 cups of fluids each day unless your doctor has told you to limit your fluid intake due to some other health problem. A cup is 8 ounces of fluid. If you throw up or have loose bowel movements you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated (lack water in the body due to losing too much fluid).
- Tell your dentist, surgeon, or other doctor that you are using this drug before you get any kind of procedure.
Food and Drug Interactions
There are known interactions of temsirolimus with grapefruit. You should avoid eating grapefruit and drinking grapefruit juice while on this medicine. This drug 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 taking at this time. The safety and use of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often not known. Using these might 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 help.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your doctor or nurse right away if you have any of these symptoms:
- Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or higher
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Wheezing or trouble breathing
- Rash or itching
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Feeling that your heart is beating in a fast or not normal way (palpitations)
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) more than 4 times a day or diarrhea with weakness or feeling lightheaded
- Blurred vision or other changes in eyesight
- Pain when passing urine; blood in urine
- Pain in your lower back or side
- Feeling confused or agitated
- Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking
- Throwing up more than 3 times a day
- Chest pain or symptoms of a heart attack. Most heart attacks involve pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes. The pain may go away and come back. It can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. Sometimes pain is felt in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach. If any of these symptoms last 2 minutes, call 911.
- Symptoms of a stroke such as sudden numbness or weakness of your face, arm, or leg, mostly on one side of your body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, feeling dizzy, loss of balance or coordination; or sudden, bad headache with no known cause. If you have any of these symptoms for 2 minutes, call 911.
- Signs of liver problems: dark urine, pale bowel movements, bad stomach pain, feeling very tired and weak, unusual itching, or yellowing of the eyes or skin
Call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if any of these symptoms happen:
- Change in hearing, ringing in the ears
- Decreased urine
- Unusual thirst or passing urine often
- Pain in your mouth or throat that makes it hard to eat or drink
- Nausea that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
- Rash that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
- Heavy menstrual period that lasts longer than normal
- Numbness, tingling, decreased feeling or weakness in fingers, toes, arms, or legs
- Trouble walking or changes in the way you walk, feeling clumsy when buttoning clothes, opening jars, or other routine hand motions
- Swelling of legs, ankles, or feet
- Weight gain of 5 pounds in one week (fluid retention)
- Lasting loss of appetite or rapid weight loss of five pounds in a week
- Fatigue that interferes with your daily activities
- Headache that does not go away
- Painful, red, or swollen areas on your hands or feet.
- No bowel movement for 3 days or you feel uncomfortable
- Extreme weakness that interferes with normal activities
- Pregnancy warning: This drug may have harmful effects on the unborn child, so effective methods of birth control should be used during your cancer treatment.
- Breast feeding warning: It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. For this reason, women should talk to their doctor about the risks and benefits of breast feeding during treatment with this drug because this drug may enter the breast milk and badly harm a breast feeding baby.
Revised July 2014