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Brand names:

Cabometyx®, Cometriq®

Often used for:

Thyroid cancer and other cancers

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What is cabozantinib?

Cabozantinib is a type of chemotherapy medicine that slows or stops cancer cells from growing. It blocks the action of abnormal proteins that tell cancer cells to multiply and grow. It is used to treat certain types of pediatric cancer.

This medicine may be given in the clinic, hospital, or at home. 

Your child will have regular blood draws and blood pressure checks.

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May be given as a capsule by mouth


May be given as a tablet by mouth

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Possible side effects

  • High blood pressure
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Feeling dizzy, tired, and weak
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Change in hair color
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal (belly) pain
  • Hair loss
  • Skin rash or redness, swelling and blistering on the hands and feet
  • Mouth irritation
  • Change in taste
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Muscle spasm
  • Change in voice
  • Cough
  • Increase in triglycerides
  • Increase in liver enzymes

Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include rash, hives, itching, runny nose, fever, chills, headache, muscle ache, shortness of breath, coughing, tightness in the throat, dizziness, low blood pressure, pain in the chest, side, or back, swelling of the face or neck. 

Not all patients who take cabozantinib will have these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Please report any symptoms or side effects to your care team or pharmacist. Find more information on side effects.

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Possible long-term or late effects

Patients who take cabozantinib may be at risk for medical problems later in life. These can include fertility problems. Your care team can give you more information about your child’s risk.

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Tips for patients and families

Be sure to discuss all questions and instructions with your care team or pharmacist.

  • Your care team may prescribe medicine to reduce nausea and vomiting. 
  • This medicine can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of infection. Wash hands often, keep patient areas clean, and avoid contact with people who are sick. 
  • Good dental hygiene is important while on this medicine. Brush teeth daily.
  • This medicine may cause mouth sores. Good dental hygiene, a soft food diet, lip care, and ice therapy can help prevent and treat mouth sores. Your care team may prescribe a mouth rinse to keep the mouth clean and help with irritation.
  • While taking this medicine your child should not consume foods or beverages containing grapefruit. Check the ingredient label of juices and other drinks before giving them to your child. 
  • Cabozantinib can affect your child’s ability to get pregnant or father a child. Talk to your care provider about the risk of fertility problems and options for protecting fertility. 
  • It is important that patients tell the care team if they are sexually active, pregnant, or breastfeeding.  
  • Sexually active patients should take steps to prevent pregnancy during treatment and for 6 months after treatment is complete.  

Cabozantinib at home

  • This medicine comes in tablet (Cabometyx®) and capsule (Cometriq®) forms. Formulations of cabozantinib are not interchangeable. Do not switch one form for another.
  • Give this medicine on an empty stomach. Give at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after your child eats.
  • Swallow this medicine whole. Do not crush, chew, or break before swallowing.
  • Give this medicine with a full glass of water.
  • Give a missed dose as soon as possible. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Do not give 2 doses at the same time. Store at room temperature in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
  • Do not use the medicine past the expiration date.
  • This medicine can pose a health risk to caregivers or others who come in contact with it. 
  • Follow instructions for safe handling, storage, and disposal. 
  • Keep all medicines out of the reach of children and pets.