Skip to Main Content

Welcome to

Together is a new resource for anyone affected by pediatric cancer - patients and their parents, family members, and friends.

Learn More


Targeted Therapy

Brand names:

Afinitor®, Afinitor Disperz®, Zortress®

Often used for:

Renal cell carcinoma (a type of kidney cancer); Subependymal giant cell astrocytoma (a type of brain tumor); Prevention of organ rejection after kidney or liver transplant; Prevention of seizures in patients tuberous sclerosis complex 

clipboard icon

What is everolimus?

Everolimus (Afinitor®, Zortress®) is a type of medicine called a targeted therapy. This medicine is an mTOR inhibitor. It acts to block certain cell signals to help keep cells from growing. It can also help block the growth of blood vessels that supply oxygen to tumors. Everolimus may also be used to prevent rejection of organ transplants.

Female patients of childbearing age will be given a pregnancy test before starting this medicine. Patients will have regular blood draws to check blood counts and monitor liver and kidney function. This drug may increase the risk of infection.

tablet and capsule icon

May be taken as a tablet by mouth

liquid dropper icon

May be taken as a liquid by mouth

exclamation mark in a circle icon

Possible side effects

  • Increased risk of infection
  • Headache
  • Mouth sores
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Swelling of the arms and legs (edema)
  • Constipation
  • Low blood counts (may cause increased risk of infection, bleeding, anemia and/or fatigue)
  • High blood glucose levels
  • Fever
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain, cramping
  • Impaired wound healing
  • Skin rash, itching, dryness, redness
  • Acne
  • Change in nails
  • Nose or throat irritation
  • Nosebleed
  • Change in taste
  • Changes in mood (depression, irritability, anxiety) or behavior
  • Joint, muscle, or back pain
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle including missed periods or heavy bleeding
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver problems
  • Lung or breathing problems
  • Heart problems
  • High blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels

Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: rash, hives, itching, chills, fever, headache, muscle ache, shortness of breath, coughing, tightness in the throat, swelling of the face or neck.

Not all patients who take everolimus 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.

late effects icon

Possible long-term effects

Some patients may experience long-term or late effects of treatment that may continue or develop months or years after treatment ends. Possible late effects due to everolimus include:

family icon

Tips for families

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

  • This medicine may increase risk of skin cancer. Patients should take steps to protect skin from the sun. Wear sunscreen and protective clothing. Avoid sun exposure when possible.
  • It is important to tell each new doctor that you visit that you are taking this medicine. Many medicines, including over-the-counter supplements such as St. John’s Wort, affect the way that everolimus works. Ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking ANY new medicines or supplements.
  • While taking this medicine, do not eat grapefruit or Seville (bitter) oranges or drink juice or beverages containing grapefruit or Seville orange.
  • While taking everolimus, it is important to drink plenty of fluids. Patients should follow the care team’s instructions for appropriate fluid intake.
  • Sexually active patients should take steps to prevent pregnancy during treatment and for 2 months after completion of therapy.
  • Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Caregivers should follow instructions to avoid contact with patient body fluids which can contain the drug for several days after it is given.

Everolimus at home:

  • Everolimus can be taken with or without food. However, it is important to take this medicine the same way every day. Taking the medicine at the same time each day and in the same way in relation to meals will help keep a constant amount of sirolimus in the body.
  • Tablets: Swallow tablets whole. Do not cut, crush, or chew. Take with a full glass of water.
  • Tablets for liquid suspension (Disperz®): Mix with a small amount of water as instructed. Let to sit in the container until dissolved (about 3 minutes). Swirl to mix, and take the medicine right away.
  • Give a missed dose as soon as possible. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the dose. Do not give 2 doses at the same time.
  • Store at room temperature. Protect from light.
  • Caregivers should wear gloves when handling this medicine. If the medicine gets on skin or in eyes, wash the area right away. Women who are pregnant or who plan to become pregnant should avoid mixing Disperz® if possible.
  • Do not use the medicine past the expiration date.
  • Follow instructions for safe handling, storage, and disposal.

Everolimus resources