Description and Brand Names

US Brand Name

  1. Sutent

Descriptions


Sunitinib is used to treat a gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) after other medicines (eg, imatinib) did not work very well. It may also be used when patients are not able to take imatinib. GIST is a group of cancer cells that start growing in the wall of the stomach, bowels, or rectum. Sunitinib is also used to treat advanced (late-stage) kidney cancer and as additional treatment in patients at high risk for kidney cancer after surgical removal of the kidney.

Sunitinib is also used to treat a type of pancreatic cancer called pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (pNET), that cannot be surgically removed and is locally advanced or metastatic (cancer that has spread).

Sunitinib belongs to the group of medicines known as antineoplastics. It interferes with the growth of cancer cells, which are eventually destroyed. Since the growth of normal body cells may also be affected by sunitinib, other effects will also occur. Some of these may be serious and must be reported to your doctor. Other effects, like hair loss, may not be serious but may cause concern. Some effects may not occur for months or years after the medicine is used.

Before you begin treatment with sunitinib, you should talk to your doctor about the benefits as well as the risks of using this medicine.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

This product is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Capsule

Before Using

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of sunitinib in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Geriatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of sunitinib in the elderly.

Breastfeeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Drug Interactions

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

  • Amisulpride
  • Bepridil
  • Cisapride
  • Colchicine
  • Dronedarone
  • Fluconazole
  • Ketoconazole
  • Mesoridazine
  • Nelfinavir
  • Pimozide
  • Piperaquine
  • Posaconazole
  • Saquinavir
  • Sparfloxacin
  • Terfenadine
  • Thioridazine
  • Ziprasidone

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Alfuzosin
  • Amiodarone
  • Amitriptyline
  • Amoxapine
  • Anagrelide
  • Apomorphine
  • Aripiprazole
  • Aripiprazole Lauroxil
  • Arsenic Trioxide
  • Asenapine
  • Astemizole
  • Atazanavir
  • Azithromycin
  • Bedaquiline
  • Boceprevir
  • Bretylium
  • Buprenorphine
  • Buserelin
  • Ceritinib
  • Chloroquine
  • Chlorpromazine
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Citalopram
  • Clarithromycin
  • Clofazimine
  • Clomipramine
  • Clozapine
  • Cobicistat
  • Conivaptan
  • Crizotinib
  • Cyclobenzaprine
  • Dabrafenib
  • Dasatinib
  • Degarelix
  • Delamanid
  • Desipramine
  • Deslorelin
  • Deutetrabenazine
  • Dexamethasone
  • Dexlansoprazole
  • Disopyramide
  • Dofetilide
  • Dolasetron
  • Domperidone
  • Donepezil
  • Droperidol
  • Efavirenz
  • Encorafenib
  • Entrectinib
  • Erythromycin
  • Escitalopram
  • Esomeprazole
  • Fingolimod
  • Flecainide
  • Fluoxetine
  • Foscarnet
  • Fosnetupitant
  • Gatifloxacin
  • Gemifloxacin
  • Glasdegib
  • Gonadorelin
  • Goserelin
  • Granisetron
  • Halofantrine
  • Haloperidol
  • Histrelin
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Hydroxyzine
  • Ibutilide
  • Idelalisib
  • Iloperidone
  • Imipramine
  • Indinavir
  • Inotuzumab Ozogamicin
  • Itraconazole
  • Ivabradine
  • Ivosidenib
  • Lansoprazole
  • Lapatinib
  • Lenvatinib
  • Leuprolide
  • Levofloxacin
  • Lofexidine
  • Lopinavir
  • Lumefantrine
  • Macimorelin
  • Mefloquine
  • Methadone
  • Metronidazole
  • Mifepristone
  • Morphine
  • Morphine Sulfate Liposome
  • Moxifloxacin
  • Nafarelin
  • Nefazodone
  • Netupitant
  • Nilotinib
  • Norfloxacin
  • Nortriptyline
  • Octreotide
  • Ofloxacin
  • Omeprazole
  • Ondansetron
  • Osimertinib
  • Paliperidone
  • Panobinostat
  • Pantoprazole
  • Pasireotide
  • Pazopanib
  • Phenobarbital
  • Pimavanserin
  • Pitolisant
  • Procainamide
  • Prochlorperazine
  • Promethazine
  • Propafenone
  • Protriptyline
  • Quetiapine
  • Quinidine
  • Quinine
  • Rabeprazole
  • Ranolazine
  • Ribociclib
  • Rifabutin
  • Rifapentine
  • Ritonavir
  • Sertraline
  • Sevoflurane
  • Siponimod
  • Sodium Phosphate
  • Sodium Phosphate, Dibasic
  • Sodium Phosphate, Monobasic
  • Solifenacin
  • Sorafenib
  • Sotalol
  • Sulpiride
  • Tacrolimus
  • Telaprevir
  • Telavancin
  • Telithromycin
  • Tetrabenazine
  • Tizanidine
  • Toremifene
  • Trazodone
  • Triclabendazole
  • Trifluoperazine
  • Trimipramine
  • Triptorelin
  • Vandetanib
  • Vardenafil
  • Vemurafenib
  • Vinflunine
  • Voriconazole
  • Zuclopenthixol

Other Interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Bleeding problems or
  • Bradycardia (very slow heart beat), history of or
  • Congestive heart failure, history of or
  • Diabetes or
  • Heart attack, recent or
  • Heart disease (eg, cardiomyopathy, myocardial ischemia), history of or
  • Heart rhythm problems (eg, QT prolongation), history of or
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) or
  • Kidney problems (other than cancer) or
  • Liver problems or
  • Proteinuria (protein in the urine) or
  • Seizures or
  • Stomach problems (eg, perforation, ulcers) or
  • Thyroid problems—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
  • Dental or tooth problems or
  • Dental procedures or
  • Dental surgery—May increase risk for severe jaw problems.
  • Hypokalemia (low potassium in the blood) or
  • Hypomagnesemia (low magnesium in the blood)—May cause side effects to become worse.
  • Infection, severe or
  • Surgery or
  • Trauma—These conditions may cause adrenal gland problems.

Proper Use

Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Your dose may need to be changed several times in order to find out what works best for you. Do not take more medicine, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered.

This medicine comes with a Medication Guide. Read and follow the instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.

You may take this medicine with or without food. Do not open the capsules.

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may cause you to have too much of this medicine in the blood. You should not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you are taking this medicine.

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (capsules):
    • For the treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer or pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (pNET):
      • Adults—37.5 milligrams (mg) once a day. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 50 mg per day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For the treatment of GIST and kidney cancer:
      • Adults—50 milligrams (mg) once a day for 4 weeks. This is followed by 2 weeks without medicine. Your doctor may tell you to repeat this cycle.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For treatment of kidney cancer after surgical removal of kidney:
      • Adults—50 milligrams (mg) once a day for 4 weeks. This is followed by 2 weeks without medicine for nine 6-week cycles. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

This medicine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss a dose, call your doctor, home health caregiver, or treatment clinic for instructions.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Precautions

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to see if the medicine is working properly. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

If you are a woman who can get pregnant, your doctor may do tests to make sure you are not pregnant before starting sunitinib treatment.

Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. It may also cause birth defects if the father is using it when his sexual partner becomes pregnant. Female patients should use an effective form of birth control during treatment with this medicine and for 4 weeks after the last dose. Male patients who have female partners should use effective birth control during treatment with this medicine and for 7 weeks after the last dose. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.

Cancer medicines can cause nausea or vomiting in most people, sometimes even after receiving medicines to prevent it. Ask your doctor or nurse about other ways to control these unwanted effects.

Check with your doctor right away if you have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach, pale stools, dark urine, loss of appetite, nausea, unusual tiredness or weakness, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.

Check with your doctor right away if you are rapidly gaining weight or have chest pain or discomfort, extreme tiredness or weakness, irregular breathing, uneven heartbeat, or excessive swelling of the hands, wrist, ankles, or feet. These may be symptoms of a serious heart problem.

Contact your doctor right away if you have any changes to your heart rhythm. You might feel dizzy or faint, or have a fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat. Make sure your doctor knows if you or anyone in your family has ever had a heart rhythm problem such as QT prolongation.

Your blood pressure might get too high while you are using this medicine. This may cause headaches, dizziness, or blurred vision. You might need to measure your blood pressure at home. If you think your blood pressure is too high, call your doctor right away.

This medicine may also increase your risk of bleeding and cause delay in wound healing. Check with your doctor right away if you notice any unusual bleeding or bruising, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine or stools, or pinpoint red spots on your skin.

It is important that you check with your doctor before having any dental procedures or surgeries done, or are receiving bisphosphonates (eg, alendronate, ibandronate, risedronate, Actonel®, Boniva®, Fosamax®, Zometa®) while you are using sunitinib. Tell your doctor right away if you have jaw tightness, swelling, numbing, or pain or a loose tooth. This could be symptoms of a severe jaw problem.

This medicine may cause a serious type of reaction called tumor lysis syndrome. Your doctor may give you medicine to help prevent this. Call your doctor right away if you have a decrease or change in the amount of urine, joint pain, stiffness, or swelling, lower back, side, or stomach pain, a rapid weight gain, swelling of the feet or lower legs, or unusual tiredness or weakness.

Thrombotic microangiopathy (damage in the smallest blood vessels) may occur while you are using this medicine. Tell your doctor right away if you have the following symptoms: a fever, tiredness, confusion, loss of vision, or seizures.

Serious skin reactions can occur with this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, red skin lesions, severe acne or skin rash, sores or ulcers on the skin, or fever or chills while you are using this medicine.

This medicine may cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Tell your doctor right away if you notice changes in your blood sugar or you have the following symptoms: shaking, trembling, sweating, fast or pounding heartbeat, faintness or lightheadedness, hunger, or confusion.

Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. You may need to stop using this medicine several days before having surgery or medical tests.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal (eg, St. John's wort) or vitamin supplements.

Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

  1. Bleeding gums
  2. bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, fingers, lower legs, or feet
  3. blurred vision
  4. chest pain
  5. chills
  6. confusion
  7. coughing up blood
  8. cracked lips
  9. decreased urine output and frequency
  10. diarrhea
  11. difficulty with breathing or swallowing
  12. dilated neck veins
  13. dizziness
  14. dry mouth
  15. extreme tiredness or weakness
  16. fainting
  17. fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
  18. fever
  19. headache
  20. increased menstrual flow or vaginal bleeding
  21. irregular breathing
  22. labored breathing
  23. lightheadedness
  24. nervousness
  25. nosebleeds
  26. paralysis
  27. pounding in the ears
  28. prolonged bleeding from cuts
  29. rapid breathing
  30. rapid weight gain
  31. red or black, tarry stools
  32. red or dark brown urine
  33. sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips, tongue, or inside the mouth
  34. sunken eyes
  35. swelling or inflammation of the mouth
  36. thirst
  37. tightness in the chest
  38. tingling of the hands or feet
  39. troubled breathing
  40. unusual tiredness or weakness
  41. unusual weight gain or loss
  42. wrinkled skin
  43. yellow eyes or skin

Less common

  1. Bleeding from the rectum
  2. bleeding from wounds
  3. constipation
  4. depressed mood
  5. dry skin and hair
  6. feeling cold
  7. hair loss
  8. hoarseness or husky voice
  9. indigestion
  10. loss of appetite
  11. muscle cramps and stiffness
  12. nausea
  13. pain in the chest, groin, or legs, especially the calves
  14. pain in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  15. severe stomach pain
  16. severe, sudden headache
  17. slurred speech
  18. sudden loss of coordination
  19. sudden, severe weakness or numbness in the arm or leg
  20. vision changes
  21. vomiting
  22. vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds

Rare

  1. Back pain
  2. chest discomfort
  3. cloudy or bloody urine
  4. darkening of the skin
  5. drowsiness
  6. general feeling of tiredness or weakness
  7. irregular or slow heart rate
  8. light-colored stools
  9. mental depression
  10. seizures
  11. skin rash
  12. stomach pain, continuing

Incidence not known

  1. Blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  2. cough
  3. dark-colored urine
  4. heavy feeling of the jaw
  5. increased thirst
  6. itching
  7. joint pain, stiffness, or swelling
  8. loosening of a tooth
  9. lower back or side pain
  10. muscle cramps or spasms
  11. muscular pain, tenderness, wasting, or weakness
  12. pain, swelling, or numbness in the mouth or jaw
  13. painful or difficult urination
  14. pale skin
  15. red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  16. sore throat
  17. sudden, severe chest pain
  18. unusual bleeding or bruising
  19. weight gain

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  1. Belching
  2. blistering, peeling, redness, or swelling of the palms, hands, or bottoms of the feet
  3. change in color of the treated skin
  4. change in taste
  5. difficulty with moving
  6. discouragement
  7. excess air or gas in the stomach or bowels
  8. feeling of fullness
  9. feeling sad or empty
  10. hair color changes
  11. hair loss or thinning of the hair
  12. heartburn
  13. irritability
  14. lack of appetite
  15. lack or loss of strength
  16. loss of interest or pleasure
  17. muscle aches or pains
  18. numbness, pain, tingling, or unusual sensations in the palms of the hands or bottoms of the feet
  19. pain or burning in the throat
  20. passing gas
  21. stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
  22. swollen joints
  23. trouble concentrating
  24. trouble sleeping

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.