What is Everolimus?
Commonly used to treat certain cancers, tumors, seizures, and transplant rejections, Everolimus is an FDA generic prescription medication and also refers to the name of the active ingredient in medications such as Afinitor, Afinitor Disperz, and Zortress.
Use this guide to Everolimus as a reference for important information to be aware of while taking this medication. Always consult with your doctor or a healthcare professional to help determine if this drug would be suitable for you.
Cancers and Transplant Rejections Everolimus Treats
Everolimus (Afinitor) is used to treat cancers and tumors that have either already been treated unsuccessfully with other medications or can’t be treated with surgery. These types of cancer and tumors include:
- Advanced renal cell carcinoma
- Advanced breast cancer
- Pancreatic, stomach, intestines, or lung cancer that has spread or progressed
- Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC)
- Subependymal giant cell astrocytoma (SEGA) in adults and children over the age of 1 year (Afinitor and Afinitor Disperz)
- Certain types of seizures in adults and children over the age of 2(Afinitor and Afinitor Disperz)
Everolimus (Zortress) is used in combination with other medications to prevent transplant rejection in adults who have received kidney or liver transplants.
How Does Everolimus Work to Treat Certain Cancers and Transplant Rejections?
Belonging to a class of medications known as kinase inhibitors, Everolimus works by interfering with the growth and reproduction of cancer cells. Since the development of normal cells in the body may also be affected by the medication, other unwanted effects may also possibly occur.
Everolimus is also used to lower the body’s natural immunity in patients who have certain organ transplants. When a patient receives a transplant, the body’s white blood cells often try to get rid of the transplanted organ. Everolimus suppresses the immune system and prevents the white blood cells from attacking the transplanted organ.
Is Everolimus a Chemotherapy?
Everolumis is approved to treat certain types of cancers and tumors and is considered an antineoplastic chemotherapy drug which classifies it as an mTOR kinase inhibitor. While it can reduce the growth of certain cancers, it cannot shrink tumors, and it can potentially prolong a patient’s life by a few months.
How Is Everolimus Taken?
Always be sure to follow the recommendations of your health care provider carefully. Everolimus should be used as instructed and as per the directions on the prescription label.
Only available by prescription, Everolimus comes in a tablet or tablet for suspension in water. When taken to treat cancer, seizures, or tumors, the medication is usually taken once a day. If Everolimus is being used to prevent transplant rejection, it is generally taken twice a day (every 12 hours) at the same time as Cyclosporine.
What are the Possible Side Effects of Everolimus?
Taking Everolimus does have potential side effects. While not all of these side effects may occur, they may need medical attention if they do occur.
Alert your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following side effects:
Most Common Side Effects:
- Bloody nose
- Chest pain or tightness
- Decreased weight or rapid weight gain
- Difficulty with swallowing
- A general feeling of discomfort or illness
- Labored breathing
- Lower back or side pain
- Painful or difficult urination
- Sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips, tongue, or inside the mouth
- Swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
- Tingling in the hands or feet
Least Common Side Effects:
- Bleeding gums
- Bloody urine, or red/dark brown urine
- Blurry vision
- Burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, or tingling feelings
- Continued bleeding from cuts
- Coughing up blood
- Extreme tiredness, weakness, or fatigue
- Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
- Increased thirst or urination
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea, stomach ache, vomiting
- Red or black, tarry stools
- Slow heartbeat
Other side effects not listed may occur in some patients, and some usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Please consult with your doctor with any potential side effects, as they might be able to tell you ways to prevent or reduce some of them.
Precautions and Dietary Restrictions
Because of the potential temporary and lasting side effects of Everolimus, you should take these precautions and speak with your doctor and pharmacist about:
- If you are allergic to Everolimus or any other ingredients used in this tablet. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- All prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and nutritional supplements you are currently taking or plan to take. Because many drugs interact with Everolimus, your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- Any herbal products you are taking, especially St. John’s wort.
- Any history of diabetes/high blood sugar, high cholesterol levels or triglycerides in your blood, kidney or liver disease, or any condition prevents you from digesting foods containing sugar, starch, or dairy products normally.
- If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Everolimus can cause infertility in men and women, as well as congenital disabilities in babies.
- If you are breastfeeding, you should not nurse during your treatment and 2 weeks following your final dose.
- Any upcoming surgeries you may have, including dental surgery. The doctor or dentist performing your surgery should know you are taking Everolimus.
- Any vaccinations you plan to have. During your treatment with Everolimus, you should avoid close contact with other people who have recently been vaccinated.
- Specific mouthwash, like dexamethasone alcohol-free, reduces the chance of mouth ulcers or sores or reduces their severity.
It is also advised not to eat or drink grapefruit juice while taking this medicine, as it may cause increased levels of Everolimus in the body. Higher levels can result in more unwanted side effects.