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    Information about Sunitinib

    Sunitinib uses

    Sunitinib is used in the treatment of kidney cancer and gastrointestinal stromal tumour.

    How sunitinib works

    Sunitinib is an anti-cancer medication. It works by blocking the action of the abnormal protein that signals cancer cells to multiply. This helps to stop or slow the spread of cancer cells.

    Common side effects of sunitinib

    Nausea, Vomiting, Weakness, Edema (swelling), Rash, Abdominal pain, Discoloration of skin, Fatigue, Fever, Dry skin, Bleeding, High blood pressure, Diarrhea, Constipation, Painful blisters on hands and feet, Stomatitis (Inflammation of the mouth), Hair discolouration, Pain in extremity, Back pain, Headache, Joint pain, Weight loss, Cough, Taste change, Indigestion, Shortness of breath
    Content Details
    Written By
    Dr. Lalit Mohan Gupta
    MD (Microbiology), MBBS
    Reviewed By
    Dr. Varun Gupta
    MD (Pharmacology), MBBS
    Last updated on:
    15 Jul 2019 | 04:10 PM (IST)
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    Read Our Editorial Policy

    Available Medicine for Sunitinib

    • ₹14786 to ₹61004
      Pfizer Ltd
      3 variant(s)
    • ₹11913
      Natco Pharma Ltd
      1 variant(s)

    Expert advice for Sunitinib

    • Sunitinib is used for the treatment of thyroid cancer.
    • Take it with or without food, preferably at the same time each day.
    • Diarrhea may occur as a side effect. Drink plenty of fluids and inform your doctor if it doesn't stop or if you find blood in your stools.
    • Use a reliable contraceptive method to prevent pregnancy while you are taking this medicine and for a month after you stop taking it.
    • It may affect wound healing time. Be careful while shaving, cutting fingernails or toenails, or using sharp objects.
    • Monitor your blood pressure regularly while taking this medication. Inform your doctor if you notice symptoms of very high blood pressure such as severe headache, confusion, problems with your eyesight, nausea or vomiting.
    • Monitoring of thyroid gland function is required while taking this medicine.  Inform your doctor if you notice symptoms of weight gain, dry skin, and hair.
    • It may cause serious bleeding problem. Inform your doctor if you get headaches, stomach pain or if you notice blood in your urine or stools.
    • Inform your doctor about the consumption of Sunitinib before going for surgical procedure.
    • Do not take this medicine if you are pregnant, planning to conceive or breastfeeding.

    Frequently asked questions for Sunitinib


    Q. How should I take Sunitinib?

    You should take Sunitinib exactly as directed by your doctor. It should be started by doctors who have experience in administering cancer medicines. Take it once a day with or without food. Do not drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit during your treatment with Sunitinib, as the chances of side effects may be more.

    Q. Does Sunitinib have any effect on skin and hair?

    During treatment with Sunitinib, your skin may get lighter and there may be hair loss. Also, patient may experience dryness, thickness or cracking of the skin, blisters, or rashes on the palms and soles. But, these side effects are reversible and go away once the medicine is stopped. Sunitinib may also cause serious skin reactions such as severe rash or rapidly spreading skin ulceration which could be fatal. Therefore, inform your doctor immediately if symptoms of infection occur around a skin injury. Let your doctor know if you have fever, pain, redness, swelling, or drainage of pus or blood.

    Q. What is the most important thing I need to know about Sunitinib?

    Sunitinib can cause serious side effects such as severe liver problems that can lead to death. Therefore, tell your doctor right away if you experience itching, yellow eyes or skin, dark urine or pain or discomfort in the right upper stomach area. Your doctor will get blood tests done to check your liver function before and during treatment with Sunitinib. In case you develop liver problems, your doctor may stop the medicine temporarily or permanently.

    Q. Can Sunitinib be used in combination with other chemotherapy medicines?

    There are no studies that support the use of Sunitinib with other chemotherapy medicines. For example, Sunitinib is used in Gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST), a type of cancer of the stomach and bowel, when imatinib (another anticancer medicine) no longer works or the patient cannot take imatinib.

    Q. Does Sunitinib have any effect on blood sugar levels in diabetics?

    Yes, Sunitinib may decrease your blood sugar levels. Therefore, if you are a diabetic, you need to be extra careful since your blood sugar levels may become so low that you may become unconscious. Keep a regular check on the blood sugar levels, based on which your dose of anti-diabetics may be changed.

    Q. Can Sunitinib cause any change in blood pressure?

    Generally, Sunitinib is known to cause an increase in blood pressure. Therefore, it is important that you keep a regular check on your blood pressure levels. Inform your doctor if you have severe headache, dizziness, lightheadedness or change in vision. Your doctor may prescribe a medicine to treat the increase blood pressure or may stop your treatment temporarily till your blood pressure returns to normal.

    Q. Are generics available for Sunitinib? How does Sunitinib work?

    There are no generics available for Sunitinib. Sunitinib blocks an enzyme which promotes the growth and spread of cancer cells. This enzyme is called protein kinase and is present on the surface of cancer cells. Blocking this enzyme stops the spread of cancer. Examples of other protein kinase inhibitors are erlotinib, gefitinib, lapatinib, vemurafenib and dasatinib.

    Content on this page was last updated on 15 July, 2019, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)