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Targeted Therapy

Brand names:


Often used for:

Basal cell carcinoma, Medulloblastoma (SHH subtype)

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What is Vismodegib?

Vismodegib is a type of medicine called a targeted therapy. This medicine is a hedgehog pathway inhibitor. It acts to block certain cell signals to help keep cells from growing.

Female patients of childbearing age will be given a pregnancy test before starting this medicine. Patients will have regular blood draws to monitor blood counts and metabolic function.

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May be taken as a capsule by mouth

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Possible Side Effects

  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Changes in taste or loss of taste
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Hair loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath, cough
  • Kidney problems
  • Change in the normal menstrual cycle

Not all patients who take vismodegib 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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Possible Late 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 vismodegib include:

  • Bone growth problems including early closure of growth plates
  • Fertility problems
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Tips for Families

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

  • Sexually active female patients should take steps to prevent pregnancy during treatment and for 24 months after completion of therapy. Male patients who are sexually active should use a condom during treatment and for 3 months after the final dose.
  • Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Patients should wait 24 months after completion of treatment to breastfeed or donate blood or blood products.
  • Caregivers should follow instructions for safe handling and disposal of the medicine and avoid contact with patient body fluids.

Vismodegib at home:

  • Take vismodegib at the same time each day, with or without food. Take with food if stomach upset occurs.
  • Swallow capsules whole. Do not open, cut, crush, or chew capsules.
  • Caregivers should wear gloves when handling this medicine. If the medicine gets on your skin, wash the area right away.
  • Store the medicine at room temperature.
  • If a dose is missed, 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.