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Targeted Therapy

Brand names:


Often used for:

Lung cancer

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About Crizotinib

Crizotinib is a type of medicine called a targeted therapy. This medicine is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor. It acts to block certain cell signals to help keep cells from growing. Crizotinib is used to treat non-small cell lung cancer that is anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) or ROS1 positive.

Patients will have regular blood draws to check blood counts and monitor liver and kidney function.

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May be taken as a capsule by mouth

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Possible Side Effects

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Swelling of arms or legs
  • Vision changes, blurry vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Low blood counts (may cause increased risk of infection, bleeding, anemia and/or fatigue)
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Numbness or tingling of hands or feet
  • Nose and throat irritation
  • Changes in taste
  • Liver problems

Not all patients who take crizotinib will experience these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Please report all suspected side effects to your doctor or pharmacist.

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Tips for Families

Be sure to discuss these and other recommendations with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • The care team may recommend medicines and/or foods to help manage diarrhea. Anti-nausea medicines may also be prescribed.
  • While taking this medicine, do not eat grapefruit or Seville (bitter) oranges or drink juice or beverages containing grapefruit or Seville orange.
  • Sexually active patients should take steps to prevent pregnancy during treatment and for 6 months after completion of therapy.
  • Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Tell your doctor if you start taking any new medicine while taking crizotinib because this may change the blood level of crizotinib or increase the side effects.
  • Caregivers should follow instructions for safe handling and disposal of the medicine and avoid contact with patient body fluids. Patient body fluids can contain the drug for 48 hours after it is given.

Crizotinib at home:

  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive or do anything that could be dangerous until you see how this medicine affects you.
  • Take crizotinib at the same time each day, with or without food.
  • Swallow capsules whole. Do not cut, crush, or chew capsules.
  • Store the medicine at room temperature.
  • Give a missed dose as soon as possible. If it is within 6 hours of the time for the next dose, skip the dose. Do not give 2 doses at the same time.
  • Do not use the medicine past the expiration date.
  • Follow instructions for safe handling and disposal.