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April 20, 2020

Sorafenib is a type of medication known as a multikinase inhibitor. It is an antineoplastic agent that is effective in treating:

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma or liver cancer that cannot be treated with surgery
  • Advanced renal cell carcinoma or advanced kidney cancer
  • FLT3-ITD positive AML and radioactive iodine resistant advanced thyroid cancer. This is a type of cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and cannot be treated with radioactive iodine.

Sorafenib is a protein kinase inhibitor with activity against many protein kinases. This targeted therapy drug works by targeting a particular pathway in the growth of cancer cells. Sorafenib blocks the action of an abnormal protein that signals certain cancer cells to grow and to multiply. This stops the abnormal cells from growing and spreading.

Body cells are usually regulated by kinases enzymes. In cancerous cells, these kinases allow the cancerous cells to grow and multiply abnormally. The kinases also stimulate the nearby blood vessels to grow into a tumor. The blood vessels supply the cancer cells with nutrients and oxygen allowing them to grow rapidly and spread to other areas of the body through blood circulation.

Sorafenib was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma in 2005. The peak of action of this medicine is observed within 3 hours of intake while the duration of time the medicine remains active in the body is not well-established.

When and How to Use Sorafenib

Sorafenib is supplied in tablet form at 200 mg for you to take orally. Your dose and the duration of your treatment is based on your condition and the severity of your condition. Take Sorafenib only as directed by your doctor. Take it exactly as directed. Do not take it more than what is instructed to you or longer than the required time of treatment.

The recommended dose of Sorafenib is 200 mg tablet two times a day. Take it at least 1to 2 hours before or after a meal. You may take it with water but make sure that you take it whole. Do not chew, crush or break the tablet. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed and tolerated. You may require frequent blood and liver test while under medication. You may also require frequent follow-ups with your doctor to check the progress of treatment. When it comes to storage, do not let the tablet comes in contact with moisture or heat.

What to know before taking Sorafenib

  • Before using Sorafenib you should give your doctor your detailed medical history. Provide your doctor with a list of medicines you are currently taking including those medicines you are allergic to. Include all medicines whether prescribed or over-the-counter, vitamins and herbal supplements.
  • Use Sorafenib with caution among patients with:
    • High blood pressure
    • Angina pectoris or chest pain
    • Diabetes
    • Metabolic disorder
    • Hemophilia
    • Severely decreased liver function
    • Elderly people
    • People with an increased risk of bleeding or blood clotting problems
  • Do not use this among patients who are:
    • Allergic to any of its ingredients
    • Carboplatin and paclitaxel patients with squamous cell lung cancer due to the increased risk of a worsening condition
    • Pregnant
    • Breastfeeding
    • Have had a heart attack
    • High risk of developing heart diseases
  • You may not be able to get pregnant after treatment with Sorafenib. If you want to conceive in the future talk to your doctor about this.
  • Sorafenib can slow wound healing. If you are scheduled for an operation stop taking this medication beforehand.

Possible Side Effects of Sorafenib

Sorafenib can cause unwanted side effects aside from its intended effects. These side effects can affect an individual in different ways. The following are common side effects associated with this medicine.

  • Headache
  • Increased risk of infection due to a drop in the white blood cells
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • High blood pressure
  • Skin changes like dryness, rashes, and itching
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Bleeding
  • Joint, bone pain, pain in the site of the tumor
  • Fatigue during or after treatment
  • Hair thinning in certain areas
  • Low potassium levels
  • High levels of pancreatic enzymes on the blood
  • Redness, soreness and peeling on the sole of feet or on palms

Rare side effects are:

  • Low blood sugar level
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Muscle pain or cramps
  • Flu-like symptoms like shivering, cold or aching
  • Heart attack
  • Heartburn
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Kidney failure
  • Low blood platelets
  • Depression
  • Los potassium, calcium level
  • High protein levels in the urine
  • Inflammation in the lungs, pancreas or stomach
  • Swollen breast
  • Liver problems
  • Dehydration
  • Allergic reactions

In case of serious side effects let your doctor know.

Getting the Best Result from Sorafenib

  • Anti-cancer medications are very strong and can have many side effects. Before using this medication, see to it that you understand all the risks and benefits associated with using this medication. It is, therefore, very important that you work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
  • Sorafenib is not safe for use by pregnant women due to positive evidence of human fetal risk. It should be used unless considered essential by your doctor and only if the benefit outweighs any potential risk to the developing baby.  Women who can get pregnant during medication must use other reliable methods of contraception to avoid getting pregnant.
  • It’s not also recommended for use by breastfeeding women. Medicines that pass into the breast milk could be harmful to the baby.
  • Some medications can decrease the absorption of Sorafenib from the gut making it less effective. It is very important therefore that you tell your doctor what medicines you are taking including those bought over-the-counter, vitamins and herbal supplements.

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