Votrient is a targeted therapy. Votrient is classified as a Tyrosine Kinase inhibitor; Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) inhibitor
Votrient is given in tablet form to be taken by mouth on an empty stomach, at least one hour before or two hours after eating.
How Votrient Works
Votrient is not a chemotherapy drug but one of many "targeted therapies." 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 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.
Votrient is designed to block tumor cell growth in several ways. Votrient targets several proteins (called tyrosine kinases) on the surface of cancer cells, as well as targets within the cell. Several of these targets are thought to be involved in angiogenesis (making of blood vessels). By blocking these targets, it is hoped the cancer will shrink.
- Before starting Votrient treatment, make sure you tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking (including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, herbal remedies, etc.). While taking Votrient, ask your doctor before you take aspirin or products containing aspirin.
- While taking Votrient, do not receive any kind of immunization or vaccination without your doctor’s approval.
- Inform your health care professional if you are pregnant or may be pregnant prior to starting this treatment. Pregnancy category D (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: Use contraceptives and do not conceive a child (get pregnant) while taking Votrient. Barrier methods of contraception such as condoms are recommended.
- Do not breast feed while taking Votrient
- While taking Votrient, drink at least two to three quarts of fluid every 24 hours, unless you are instructed otherwise.
- Wash your hands often and after taking each dose of Votrient.
- To help treat/prevent mouth sores while taking Votrient, use a soft toothbrush, and rinse three times a day with 1 teaspoon of baking soda mixed with 8 ounces of water.
- Use an electric razor and a soft toothbrush to minimize bleeding.
- Avoid contact sports or activities that could cause injury.
- To reduce nausea, take anti-nausea medications as prescribed by your doctor, and eat small, frequent meals while taking Votrient.
- Avoid sun exposure. Wear SPF 15 (or higher) sunblock and protective clothing. Votrient may make you more sensitive to the sun and you may sunburn more easily.
- In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be kept to a minimum or avoided completely while you are taking Votrient. You should discuss this with your doctor.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Maintain good nutrition while being treated with Votrient.
- If you experience symptoms or side effects while being treated with Votrient, 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.
You will be checked regularly by your doctor while you are taking Votrient to monitor side effects and check your response to therapy. Periodic blood work will be obtained to monitor your complete blood count (CBC) as well as the function of other organs (such as your kidneys and liver).
Votrient Side Effects:
Important things to remember about the side effects of Votrient:
- Most people will not experience all of the Votrient side effects listed.
- Votrient side effects are often predictable in terms of their onset, duration, and severity.
- Votrient side effects are almost always reversible and will go away after therapy is complete.
- Votrient side effects may be quite manageable. There are many options to minimize or prevent the side effects of Votrient.
The following Votrient side effects are common (occurring in greater than 30%) for patients taking Votrient:
- Hair color changes
- Low blood counts (low white blood cells, low platelets)
- Elevated liver function tests (AST, ALT)
- Elevated bilirubin level
- Blood test abnormalities (low phosporus, low sodium, increased glucose)
These are less common side effects (occurring in 10-29%) for patients receiving Votrient:
- Poor appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Blood test abnormalities
This list includes common and less common side effects for those taking Votrient. Votrient side effects that are very rare -- occurring in less than about 10 percent of patients -- are not listed here. Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.
When To Contact Your Doctor or Health Care Provider:
Contact your doctor or 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 (possible signs of infection)
- Yellowing or jaundice of the skin or whites of the eyes
The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not an emergency. Contact your doctor or health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the following:
- Diarrhea (4-6 episodes in a 24-hour period)
- Hypertension (systolic BP > 150 (top number) or diastolic BP > 90 (bottom number)
- Nausea (interferes with ability to eat and unrelieved with prescribed medication)
- Vomiting (vomiting more than 4-5 times in a 24 hour period)
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Black or tarry stools or blood in your stools
- Blood in your urine
- Pain or burning with urination
- Extreme fatigue (unable to carry on self-care activities)
- Mouth sores (painful redness, swelling or ulcers)
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