What is Verzenio Uses, warnings & interactions
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Verzenio (abemaciclib) is a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor that is manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company. It was approved in 2017 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of certain types of breast cancer.
What is Verzenio used for?
Verzenio (abemaciclib) is a CDK inhibitor that is used to reduce tumor size and increase disease-free survival rates in patients with breast cancer. It is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
- Along with hormone therapy (tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor) for the adjuvant treatment of adult patients with hormone receptor (HR)-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative, node-positive, early breast cancer at high risk of recurrence.
- Along with an aromatase inhibitor for the treatment of postmenopausal women, and men, with hormone receptor (HR)-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative advanced or metastatic (cancer has spread to other parts of the body) breast cancer.
- Along with Faslodex (fulvestrant) for the treatment of adults with hormone receptor-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer with disease progression following hormone (endocrine) therapy.
- As monotherapy for the treatment of adults with HR-positive, HER2-negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer with disease progression following endocrine therapy and prior chemotherapy.
How does Verzenio work?
Verzenio inhibits cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6 (CDK4/6). In estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells, CDK4/6 promotes tumor growth and spread. Blocking this pathway prevents cell growth and leads to apoptosis (cell death). In clinical trials, Verzenio as monotherapy or along with antiestrogens led to a reduction in tumor size.
What are the most commonly prescribed doses of Verzenio?
- 50mg tablet
- 100mg tablet
- 150mg tablet
- 200mg tablet
Before taking Verzenio
Before starting Verzenio, tell your healthcare provider if you have any of the following medical conditions:
- Signs of an infection such as fever or chills
- History of blood clots
- Lung disease or breathing problems
- Kidney or liver problems
- Pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant or are breastfeeding
How to take Verzenio
- Read the Full Prescribing Information, Instructions for Use, and Medication Guide that comes with your Verzenio.
- Take Verzenio exactly as your healthcare provider prescribes it to you. Do not change your dose or stop taking Verzenio without discussing it with them.
- Your doctor may change your dose of Verenzio if needed. Do not stop taking Verzenio or change the dose without talking to your doctor.
- Verzenio is typically taken by mouth twice daily. You should take Verzenio around the same time each day. It can be taken with or without food.
- Swallow Verenzio tablets whole. Do not chew, crush, or split the tablets before swallowing.
- If you vomit or miss a dose of Verenio, take your next dose at your regular time. Do not take extra doses or Verzenio to make up for the dose you missed.
Verzenio is contraindicated in patients who have a known hypersensitivity to abemaciclib, or any other ingredients in this medication.
- Notify your doctor if you experience severe bouts of diarrhea. You should also begin antidiarrheal treatment such as Immodium (loperamide) and increase your fluid intake at the first sign of loose stools.
- Your doctor should perform blood tests to monitor your liver function and check for low white blood cell counts (neutropenia) before starting Verzenio treatment, 2 weeks for the first 2 months, monthly for the next 2 months, and as needed.
- Severe cases of interstitial lung disease/pneumonitis have been reported with Verzenio. You should be monitored for symptoms and treatment discontinued if indicated.
- Verzenio can cause fetal harm. You should be aware of the potential risk to a fetus and use effective birth control.
Most common side effects of Verzenio
The most common possible side effects (incidence ≥20%) of Verzenio include:
- Stomach pain
- Anemia (low red blood cell count)
- Thrombocytopenia (low platelet count)
- Loss of appetite
- Hair loss
Verzenio can cause serious side effects including:
- Life-threatening allergic reactions including angioedema, and trouble breathing
- Lung disease and problems such as chest pain and shortness of breath
- Venous thromboembolic events (blood clots, embolisms)
- Liver toxicity (yellowing eyes/skin)
Contact your healthcare provider for medical advice about any adverse effects you experience while taking Verzenio. You can report your side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Verzenio drug interactions
When Verzenio is taken with other drugs, it may change how they work or increase the frequency and severity of side effects. Make sure your doctor is aware of all prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements you take, including:
- CYP3A inhibitors such as ketoconazole
- CYP3A inducers such as carbamazepine and phenytoin
- Grapefruit juice
There are other ADHD medications that your healthcare professional can prescribe if Verzenio is not the right medication for you. Some alternative FDA-approved treatment options include:
- Ibrance (palbociclib)
- Kisqali (ribociclib)
- Cosela (trilaciclib)
- Femara (letrozole)
- Aromasin (anastrozole)
How does Verzenio compare with Ibrance?
Verzenio and Ibrance are both kinase inhibitors that are indicated to treat certain types of breast cancer. Verzenio is a tablet that is taken twice daily while Ibrance is a capsule that you take once daily. While they have not been directly compared in clinical trials, individual studies proved both to be effective in treating advanced or metastatic HR-positive, HER2-negative advanced breast cancer.
There is currently no generic alternative available for either medication. Verzenio has an average cost of around $3,500 for #14, 150mg tablets while Ibrance costs almost $14,000 for #21, 100mg capsules.
Is Verzenio chemo?
Verzenio is not chemotherapy. It’s a targeted therapy that works by treating a specific area of your body where your cancer is growing. By blocking certain proteins that control cell growth and division, Verzenio kills or inactivates cancer cells.
What kind of cancer does Verzenio treat?
Verzenio is a prescription medicine used alone or in combination with hormone therapy to treat adults with HR+, HER2–, node-positive, early-stage, advanced, or metastatic breast cancer with a high risk of recurrence.
How much longer will I live if I take Verzenio?
Verzenio extended life by an average of 9.4 months in women with HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer that was previously treated with hormonal therapy.
Can you take Verzenio while you are pregnant or breastfeeding?
Based on animal studies and its mechanism of action, Verzenio can cause fetal harm when administered during pregnancy. There is no data on whether Verzenio is found in breast milk or the effects it may have on the breastfed child. Because of the potential for serious adverse effects on breastfed infants, you should not breastfeed while taking Verzenio and for 3 weeks after the last dose. You should always discuss the risks and benefits of any medication with your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
Is there a generic for Verzenio?
Currently, there is no generic for Verzenio available on the market. However, you can still save on brand-name drugs like Verzenio through NiceRx if eligible for assistance.
The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.