Vandetanib is the generic for the trade chemotherapy drug Caprelsa®.
In some cases, health care professionals may use the trade name Caprelsa ®
when referring to the generic drug name Vandetanib.
Drug type: Vandetanib is a targeted therapy. It is an oral receptor
tyrosine kinase inhibitor - (For more detail, see "How this drug works," below.)
What Vandetanib Is Used For:
- For the treatment of symptomatic or progressive medullary thyroid cancer in patients
with unresectable locally advanced or metastatic disease.
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 Vandetanib Is Given:
- Vandetanib is a pill, taken by mouth. It can be taken with or without food.
- Take Vandetanib exactly as prescribed.
- Swallow Vandetanib capsules whole. Do not crush, dissolve or open capsules. If tablets
are accidentally crushed, contact with skin should be avoided. If contact occurs,
wash affected areas with water.
- You may put tablet in ¼ cup of water, mix for 10 minutes and drink. Rinse cup with
½ cup more water and drink.
- Do not change your dose or stop Vandetanib unless your health care provider tells
- If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is too close to your
next dose (within 12 hours), just take your next dose at your regular time.
- Do not take more than 1 dose of Vandetanib at one time. Call your health care provider
right away if you take too much.
- The amount of Vandetanib that you will receive depends on many factors, your general
health or other health problems, and the type of cancer or condition being treated.
Important things to remember about the side effects of Vandetanib:
- Most people do not experience all of the side effects listed.
- Side effects are often predictable in terms of their onset and duration.
- There are many options to help minimize or prevent side effects.
- There is no relationship between the presence or severity of side effects and the
effectiveness of the medication.
The following side effects are common (occurring in greater than 30%) for patients
These side effects are less common side effects (occurring in about 10-29%) of patients
Possible ECG changes which is a finding on your heart rhythm test that makes you
prone to certain serious abnormal heart rhythms.
Not all side effects are listed above. Some that are rare (occurring in
less than 10% of patients) are not listed here. However, you should always inform
your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.
When to contact your doctor or health care provider:
Contact your health care provider immediately, day or night, if you
should experience any of the following symptoms:
- Fever of 100.4° F (38°C or higher, chills)
- Irregular heartbeat, lightheadedness or feeling faint
- Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
- Headaches, seizures, confusion, changes in vision or thinking
The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not an emergency.
Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the
- Diarrhea (4-6 episodes in a 24-hour period).
- Nausea (interferes with ability to eat and unrelieved with prescribed medication).
- Vomiting (vomiting more than 4-5 times in a 24 hour period).
- Unable to eat or drink for 24 hours or have signs of dehydration: tiredness, thirst,
dry mouth, dark and decrease amount of urine, or dizziness.
- Skin or the whites of your eyes turn yellow
- Urine turns dark or brown (tea color)
- Decreased appetite
- Pain on the right side of your stomach
- Bleed or bruise more easily than normal
- Skin changes (rash, acne, itching, blisters, peeling, redness or swelling).
- High blood pressure
Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.
- Before starting Vandetanib treatment, make sure you tell your doctor about any other
medications you are taking (including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins,
herbal remedies, etc.). Do not take aspirin, or products containing aspirin unless
your doctor specifically permits this.
- Do not receive any kind of immunization or vaccination without your doctor's approval
while taking Vandetanib.
- Inform your health care professional if you are pregnant or may be pregnant prior
to starting this treatment. Pregnancy category D (Vandetanib may be hazardous to
the fetus. Women who are pregnant or become pregnant must be advised of the potential
hazard to the fetus.)
- For both men and women: Do not conceive a child (get pregnant) while taking Vandetanib.
Barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms, are recommended. Discuss with
your doctor when you may safely become pregnant or conceive a child after therapy.
- Do not breast feed while taking this medication.
- You should not drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit during your treatment with
Vandetanib. It may make the amount of Vandetanib in your blood increase to a harmful
- Drink at least two to three quarts of fluid every 24 hours, unless you are instructed
- If you should experience nausea, take anti-nausea medications as prescribed by your
doctor, and eat small frequent meals. Sucking on lozenges and chewing gum may also
- Avoid sun exposure. Wear SPF 15 (or higher) sun block and protective clothing.
- In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be kept to a minimum or avoided
completely. You should discuss this with your doctor.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Maintain good nutrition.
- Vandetanib can cause tiredness, weakness or blurred vision. If you have any of these
symptoms, use caution when driving a car, using machinery, or anything that requires
you to be alert.
- If you experience symptoms or side effects, be sure to discuss them with your health
care team. They can prescribe medications and/or offer other suggestions that are
effective in managing such problems.
Monitoring and Testing:
You will be checked regularly by your health care professional while you are taking
Vandetanib. Testing may include: electrolytes, thyroid test and electrocardiogram
(ECG) to monitor side effects and check your response to therapy.
How Vandetanib 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 cells 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, thus 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 parts of the cells. Other targeted therapies
target receptors that are on the outside of the cell. Therapies that target receptors
are also known as monoclonal antibodies. Antiangiogenesis inhibitors target the
blood vessels that supply oxygen to the cells, ultimately causing the cells to starve.
Vandetanib is a targeted therapy that targets and binds to the tyrosine kinase receptors
and inhibits epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), vascular endothelial growth
factor (VEGF), rearranged during transfection (RET), protein tyrosine kinase 6 (BRK),
TIE2, EPH kinase receptors and SRC kinase receptors on the surface of the cell.
By binding to these receptors Vandetanib blocks an important pathway that promotes
Research continues to identify which cancers may be best treated with targeted therapies
and to identify additional targets for more types of cancer.
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.