Vandetanib (By mouth)


Vandetanib (van-DET-a-nib)

Treats medullary thyroid cancer.

Brand Name(s)


When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

How to Use This Medicine


  • Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
  • Take your medicine as directed.
  • Swallow the tablets whole. Do not break, crush, or chew it.
  • If you have trouble swallowing the tablets:
    • Dissolve the tablet in a glass containing 2 ounces of non-carbonated water. Do not use any other liquid.
    • Stir the mixture for 10 minutes and swallow it right away.
    • Rinse the glass with an additional 4 ounces of non-carbonated water and swallow the mixture to make sure you get the full dose of this medicine.
    • This mixture may also be given through a nasogastric or gastrostomy tubes.
  • Do not handle tablets that are crushed or broken. Wash your hands or skin with soap and water immediately if you touch crushed or broken tablets.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine and it is less than 12 hours since your regular time, take it as soon as you can and take your next dose at the normal time. If you miss a dose or forget to use it, and it is more than 12 hours since your regular time, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the normal time. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you also use St John's wort, dexamethasone (Decadron®), rifabutin (Mycobutin®), rifampin (Rifadin®, Rimactane®), rifapentine (Priftin®), heart rhythm medicine (such as amiodarone, disopyramide, dofetilide, procainamide, sotalol, Cordarone®, Tikosyn®), or medicine to treat seizures (such as carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, Dilantin®, Tegretol®).
  • Tell your doctor if you also use arsenic trioxide (Trisenox®), chloroquine (Aralen®), cisapride (Propulsid®), methadone (Dolophine®), medicine for depression (such as amitriptyline, fluoxetine, nortriptyline, Elavil®, Pamelor®, Prozac®, Sarafem®, Vivactil®), certain antibiotics (such as clarithromycin, erythromycin, levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, sparfloxacin, Avelox®, Levaquin®), medicine to treat nausea or vomiting (such as dolasetron, granisetron, Anzemet®, Kytril®), or medicine to treat mental illness (such as haloperidol, mesoridazine, pimozide, prochlorperazine, quetiapine, thioridazine, ziprasidone, Compazine®, Mellaril®).

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • It is not safe to take this medicine during pregnancy. It could harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.In addition, use effective birth control for at least 4 months after you stop treatment.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are breastfeeding or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, blood vessel disease, heart failure, heart rhythm problems (such as QT prolongation), high blood pressure, a history of stroke or torsade de pointes, or a mineral imbalance (such as low potassium, magnesium, or calcium in the blood). Tell your doctor if you have bleeding problems, lung disease or breathing problems, or an underactive thyroid.
  • Contact your doctor right away if you notice a change in your heart rhythm. You might feel dizzy, faint, or have a fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat.
  • Serious skin reactions can occur with this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have blistering or peeling skin, severe acne or skin rash, sores or ulcers on the skin, or fever or chills while you are using this medicine.
  • This medicine may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Wear sunscreen. Do not use sunlamps or tanning beds. Use sunscreen and protective clothing while you are using this medicine and for 4 months after the last dose.
  • Call your doctor right away if you have trouble breathing, a cough, and a fever that comes on suddenly. These may be symptoms of a serious lung problem.
  • Stop using this medicine and call your doctor right away if you have confusion, a severe headache, trouble speaking or walking, or vision problems. These may be symptoms of a stroke.
  • This medicine may increase your chance of bleeding. Tell your doctor right away if you cough up blood or have bleeding gums, increased menstrual flow or vaginal bleeding, nosebleeds, prolonged bleeding from cuts, red or dark brown urine, or red or black, tarry stools. Stay away from rough sports or other situations where you could be bruised, cut, or injured. Brush and floss your teeth gently. Be careful when you use sharp objects, including razors and fingernail clippers.
  • Check with your doctor right away if you have rapid weight gain, trouble breathing, chest pain or discomfort, extreme tiredness or weakness, uneven heartbeat, or swelling. These may be symptoms of a heart problem.
  • This medicine may cause diarrhea and increase your risk of having an electrolyte imbalance (such as low potassium, magnesium, or calcium in the blood). Tell your doctor right away if you start having muscle cramps or twitching, mood or mental changes, or unusual tiredness or weakness.
  • Check with your doctor right away if you have a headache, seizures, confusion, or vision loss. These may be symptoms of a rare but serious condition called reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome (RPLS).
  • This medicine may make you tired, drowsy, or cause blurred vision. Do not drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, red skin rash
  • Changes in vision
  • Chest pain, fainting, dizziness
  • Dry mouth, increased thirst, muscle pain
  • Fast, slow, pounding, or uneven heartbeat
  • Numbness or weakness in your face, arm, or leg, or on one side of your body
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet
  • Rapid weight gain, swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
  • Red or dark brown urine, bloody or black, tarry stools, unexplained nosebleeds
  • Seizures
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Sudden or severe headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or walking
  • Trouble breathing, cough, fever
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Acne, severe sunburn
  • Chills, stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, and body aches
  • Constipation, muscle cramps, dry skin, weight changes
  • Headache
  • Mild diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, stomach pain
  • Mild rash or itching skin

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 4/4/2014

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