What is this medication?
VENETOCLAX (ven ET oh klax) treats leukemia and lymphoma. It works by blocking a protein that causes cancer cells to grow and multiply. This helps to slow or stop the spread of cancer cells.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Venclexta, VENCLEXTA Starting Pack
What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- High levels of uric acid in the blood
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Low or high levels of potassium, phosphorus, or calcium in the blood
- Scheduled to receive a vaccine
- An unusual or allergic reaction to venetoclax, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medication?
Take this medication by mouth with a glass of water. Take it as directed on the prescription label at the same time every day. Do not cut, crush, or chew this medication. Swallow the tablets whole. Take it with food. Keep taking it unless your care team tells you to stop.
Do not take with grapefruit juice or eat Seville oranges or starfruit.
A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.
Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. Special care may be needed.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If your next dose is to be taken in less than 16 hours, then do not take the missed dose. Take the next dose at your regular time. Do not take double or extra doses. If you vomit after a dose, do not take another dose; take the next day's dose at the usual time.
What may interact with this medication?
- Calcium channel blockers, such as diltiazem, verapamil
- Certain antibiotics, such as azithromycin, erythromycin, clarithromycin
- Certain medications for fungal infections, such as fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole
- Certain medications for irregular heart beat, such as amiodarone, dronedarone, quinidine
- Certain medications for seizures, such as carbamazepine, phenytoin
- Grapefruit products, Seville oranges, or starfruit
- Live virus vaccines
- St. John's wort
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Your condition will be monitored carefully while you are receiving this medication. You may need blood work while taking this medication.
This medication can cause serious reactions. To reduce the risk, your care team may give you other medications to take before receiving this one. Be sure to follow the directions from your care team.
Drink plenty of fluids while you are taking this medication.
This medication may increase your risk of getting an infection. Call your care team for advice if you get a fever, chills, sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.
Talk to your care team if you may be pregnant. Serious birth defects can occur if you take this medication during pregnancy and for 30 days after the last dose. You will need a negative pregnancy test before starting this medication. Contraception is recommended while taking this medication and for 30 days after the last dose. Your care team can help you find the option that works for you.
Do not breastfeed while taking this medication and for 1 week after the last dose.
This medication may cause infertility. Talk to your care team if you are concerned about your fertility.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?
Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:
- Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Infection—fever, chills, cough, sore throat, wounds that don't heal, pain or trouble when passing urine, general feeling of discomfort or being unwell
- Low red blood cell level—unusual weakness or fatigue, dizziness, headache, trouble breathing
- Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS)—nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, decrease in the amount of urine, dark urine, unusual weakness or fatigue, confusion, muscle pain or cramps, fast or irregular heartbeat, joint pain
- Unusual bruising or bleeding
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):
- Bone, joint, or muscle pain
- Swelling of the ankles, hands, or feet
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Where should I keep my medication?
Keep out of the reach of children and pets.
Store at or below 30 degrees C (86 degrees F). Keep this medication in the original container. Protect from moisture. Keep the container tightly closed. Get rid of any unused medication after the expiration date.
To get rid of medications that are no longer needed or have expired:
- Take the medication to a medication take-back program. Check with your pharmacy or law enforcement to find a location.
- If you cannot return the medication, check the label or package insert to see if the medication should be thrown out in the garbage or flushed down the toilet. If you are not sure, ask your care team. If it is safe to put it in the trash, empty the medication out of the container. Mix the medication with cat litter, dirt, coffee grounds, or other unwanted substance. Seal the mixture in a bag or container. Put it in the trash.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
Additional Information From Chemocare.com About Venetoclax
- Drink at least two to three quarts of fluid every 24 hours, unless you are instructed otherwise. This is especially important starting 2 days before your first dose of venetoclax, on the day of your first dose, and anytime your dose increased.
- 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 help.
- Avoid sun exposure. Wear SPF 30 (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.
- You may be at risk of infection so try to avoid crowds or people with colds, and report fever or any other signs of infection immediately to your healthcare provider.
- Wash your hands often. Do not touch your eyes or the inside of your nose unless you have just washed your hands and have not touched anything else in the meantime.
- Ask your doctor or nurse before scheduling dental appointment or procedures.
- Use an electric razor to minimize bleeding.
- 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.
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
- Sudden onset of shortness of breath, cough, difficulty breathing or wheezing
- New or worsening stomach pain, chills, fever, nausea, or vomiting
- Seizures, confusion, irregular heartbeat, dark or cloudy urine, extreme tiredness, muscle or joint pain
The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not an emergency. Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the following:
- Diarrhea (4-6 episodes in a 24-hour period)
- Nausea (interferes with ability to eat and unrelieved with prescribed medication).
- 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 of the whites of your eyes turn yellow
- Decreased appetite
- Signs of an infection (cough with or without mucus, nasal drainage, burning with urination, redness or swelling, pus formation at the site of an injury or incision)
- Fatigue that interferes with activities of daily living (showering, bathing, making meals, etc.)
- Any signs of unusual bleeding (blood in the urine or stool, increased bruising, heavy menstrual bleeding)
Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.