Care During Chemotherapy and Beyond



Trade Name: Ayvakit®

Avapritinib is the generic name for the trade name drug Ayvakit®. In some cases, health care professionals may use the trade name Ayvakit® when referring to the generic drug name avapritinib.

Drug Type: Avapritinib is a kinase inhibitor. This medication is classified as a small molecule inhibitor of platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFR-A) (for more detail, see "How Avapritinib Works" below).

What Avapritinib Is Used For

  • Avapritinib is used for the treatment of adults with unresectable or metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) harboring a platelet-derived growth factor alpha (PDGFRA) exon 18 mutation, including PDGFRA D842V mutations.

Note: If a drug has been approved for one use, physicians may elect to use this same drug for other problems if they believe it may be helpful.

How Avapritinib Is Given

  • Avapritinib is given as a tablet by mouth one time daily. Take on an empty stomach at least 1 hour before or at least 2 hours after a meal.

The amount of avapritinib that you will receive depends on many factors, including your height and weight, your general health or other health problems, and the type of cancer or condition you have. Your doctor will determine your exact dosage and schedule.

Side Effects

Important things to remember about the side effects of avapritinib:

  • Most people will not experience all of the avapritinib side effects listed.
  • Avapritinib side effects are often predictable in terms of their onset, duration, and severity.
  • Avapritinib side effects will usually improve after therapy is complete.
  • Avapritinib side effects may be quite manageable. There may be options to minimize or prevent the side effects of avapritinib.

The following side effects are common (occurring in greater than 30%) for patients taking Avapritinib:

These are less common side effects (occurring in 10-29%) for patients receiving Avapritinib:

Not all side effects are listed above. Side effects that are very rare - occurring in less than about 10% of patients - are not listed here. But you should always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.


  • Before starting avapritinib treatment, make sure you tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking (including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, herbal remedies, etc.).
  • Tell all of your healthcare providers that you are taking avapritinib. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • Central nervous system adverse effects (including cognitive impairment, dizziness, sleep disorders, mood disorders, speech disorders, and hallucinations), have been reported. Therapy interruption, dosage reduction, or permanent discontinuation may be necessary.
  • Intracranial hemorrhage (e.g., subdural hematoma, intracranial hemorrhage, and cerebral hemorrhage) has been reported. Therapy interruption, dosage reduction, or permanent discontinuation may be necessary.
  • May cause fetal harm; females and males or reproductive potential must use effective contraception during treatment and for 6 weeks after the final dose.
  • May impair fertility in both males and females or reproductive potential.

Self-Care Tips

  • Take avapritinib exactly as your health care provider tells you to take it.
  • Do not change your dose or stop taking avapritinib unless your healthcare provider tells you to.
  • Your healthcare provider may change your dose, temporarily stop, or permanently stop treatment Ayvakit if you develop side effects.
  • Take avapritinib one time each day.
  • Take avapritinib tablet(s) on an empty stomach at least 1 hour before or at least 2 hours after a meal.
  • If you miss a dose of avapritinib, take it as soon as your remember unless your next scheduled dose is due within 8 hours. Take the next dose at your regular time. Do not double up doses.
  • If you vomit after taking a dose of avapritinib, do not take an extra dose. Take your next dose at your next scheduled time.
  • Do not drive or operate heavy machinery if you have confusion or trouble thinking during treatment with avapritinib.

Monitoring and Testing While Taking Avapritinib

You will be checked regularly by your doctor while you are taking avapritinib, to monitor side effects and check your response to therapy. Prior to treatment initiation, a pregnancy test will be used to verify the pregnancy status of females or reproductive potential.

How Avapritinib Works

Targeted therapy is the result of about 100 years of research dedicated to understanding the differences between cancer cells and normal cells. To date, cancer treatment has focused primarily on killing rapidly dividing cells because one feature of cancer cells is that they divide rapidly. Unfortunately, some of our normal cell divide rapidly too, causing multiple side effects.

Targeted therapy is about identifying other features of cancer cells. Scientists look for specific differences in the cancer cells and the normal cells. This information is used to create a targeted therapy to attack the cancer cells without damaging the normal cells, this leading to fewer side effects. Each type of targeted therapy works a little bit differently, but all interfere with the ability of the cancer cell to grow, divide, repair and/or communicate with other cells.

There are different types of targeted therapies, defined in three broad categories. Some targeted therapies focus on the internal components and function of the cancer cell. The targeted therapies use small molecules that can get into the cell and disrupt the function of the cells, causing them to die. There are several types of targeted therapy that focus on the inner part of the cells. Other targeted therapies target receptors that are on the outside of the cell.

Targeted therapies are not always a replacement for traditional chemotherapy. They may be used alone or in combination with traditional chemotherapy. More research is needed to identify which cancers may be best treated with targeted therapies and to identify additional targets for more types of cancer.

Some mutations cause constant activation of PDGFRA and KIT receptors and lead to tumor cell growth. Avapritinib is a small molecule (tyrosine kinase) inhibitor that targets PDGFRA and PDGFRA D842 mutants as well as multiple KIT mutations leading to inhibition of tumor cell growth.

Note: We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute for medical advice. is designed to provide the latest information about chemotherapy to patients and their families, caregivers and friends. For information about the 4th Angel Mentoring Program visit