On November 6th, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Alecensa® (alectinib) for the treatment of people with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) as detected by an FDA-approved test.
What is the most important information I should know about ALECENSA?
Everyone reacts differently to treatment with ALECENSA. It’s important to know the most serious and most common side effects with ALECENSA.
Your doctor may lower the dose or stop treatment with ALECENSA if any side effects occur. Contact your doctor right away if you have any of the following side effects.
Liver problems (hepatotoxicity). ALECENSA may cause liver injury. Your doctor will do blood tests at least every 2 weeks for the first 3 months, and then 1 time each month and as needed during treatment with ALECENSA. Tell your doctor right away if you get any of the following signs and symptoms:
Lung problems. ALECENSA may cause severe or life-threatening swelling (inflammation) of the lungs during treatment. Symptoms may be similar to those symptoms from lung cancer. Tell your doctor right away if you have any new or worsening symptoms, including:
Kidney problems. ALECENSA may cause severe or life-threatening kidney problems. Tell your doctor right away if you have a change in the amount or color of your urine, or if you get new or worsening swelling in your legs or feet.
Slow heartbeat (bradycardia). ALECENSA may cause very slow heartbeats that can be severe. Your doctor will check your heart rate and blood pressure during treatment with ALECENSA. Tell your doctor right away if you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or if you faint during treatment with ALECENSA. Tell your doctor if you take any heart or blood pressure medicines.
Muscle pain, tenderness, and weakness (myalgia). Muscle problems are common
with ALECENSA and can be severe. Your doctor will do blood tests at least every 2 weeks for the first month and as needed during treatment with ALECENSA. Tell your doctor right away if you have any new or worsening signs and symptoms of muscle problems, including unexplained muscle pain or muscle pain that does not go away, tenderness, or weakness.
Breakdown of healthy red blood cells earlier than normal (hemolytic anemia). Hemolytic anemia can happen in some people who take ALECENSA. If this happens, you may not have enough healthy red blood cells. Your doctor may temporarily stop ALECENSA and do blood tests, if needed, to check for this problem. Tell your doctor right away if you experience yellow skin (jaundice), weakness or dizziness, or shortness of breath.
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
These are not all of the possible side effects of ALECENSA. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch. You may also report side effects to Genentech at (888) 835-2555.
"Our goal is to develop medicines that have the potential to significantly improve upon the standard of care. In our pivotal study, Alecensa significantly extended the time that people lived without their disease worsening compared to crizotinib and also showed a marked reduction in the risk of their cancer spreading to the brain.”