Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Bleeding: Axitinib may cause a reduced number of platelets in the blood, which can make it difficult to stop cuts from bleeding and may increase your risk of bleeding. If you experience signs of bleeding (e.g., nosebleeds, blood in the urine or stools, darkened urine or stools), contact your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will perform regular blood tests to monitor you while you are taking this medication.
Blood clots: Axitinib may cause the formation of blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) that can move to the lungs (pulmonary embolism). Blood clots can also cause a heart attack or a stroke. Contact your doctor as soon as possible if you have pain, redness, or swelling in your legs. If you develop chest pain and shortness of breath, seek immediate medical attention. Also seek immediate medical attention if you have sudden headache, dizziness, problems speaking, vision problems, or numbness or weakness, even if they are temporary. If you have had a blood clot in the past, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Hand-foot skin reaction: A rash on the palms of your hands as well as the soles of your feet may occur with axitinib. It can vary in redness and itchiness, but it is possible that blistering and pain can develop. Speak to your doctor immediately if you develop a rash, pain, or blistering on your hands or feet.
Heart problems: This medication can decrease heart function, which may lead to heart failure. If you experience symptoms of heart failure such as unusual tiredness, shortness of breath, or swelling of the feet and ankles, contact your doctor.
This medication may also cause an abnormal heart rhythm, which often has no symptoms, or a decreased heart rate. If you experience fainting or chest pain while taking this medication, get immediate medical attention.
If you have a history of heart problems (e.g., heart arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, heart attack, heart bypass surgery), discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
High blood pressure: Your doctor may check your blood pressure before starting axitinib and then ask you to measure your blood pressure regularly while taking axitinib. Some people taking axitinib develop very high blood pressure that requires adding blood pressure medications, changing the dose, or even stopping the medication for a period of time. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.
Liver function: People taking axitinib may have changes in liver function that produce abnormal liver test results or liver damage. Your doctor will recommend regular liver tests while you are taking this medication. If you have severe changes in liver function, your doctor may recommend that you take a lower dose of this medication or stop taking it altogether.
Liver disease or reduced liver function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have liver problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. Your doctor may want to test your liver function regularly with blood tests while you are taking this medication.
If you experience symptoms of liver problems such as fatigue, feeling unwell, loss of appetite, nausea, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, pale stools, abdominal pain, or swelling and itchy skin, contact your doctor immediately.
Neurological problems: Rarely, patients may experience symptoms of a neurological disorder known as reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome (RPLS). If you have had this disorder before, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. RPLS can present with headache, seizure, lethargy, confusion, blindness and other visual and neurologic disturbances. Tell your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.
Tear in the intestines: Axitinib is associated with intestinal perforation (tear in the intestinal wall). If you have symptoms of an intestinal tear such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or fever and chills, go see your doctor.
Thyroid problems: Axitinib may decrease thyroid hormone levels. Your doctor will monitor your thyroid function with blood tests before and during treatment with axitinib. If you have symptoms of low thyroid such as dry skin, constipation, weight gain, or fatigue, go see your doctor.
Wound healing complications: Axitinib may decrease your ability for wound healing. Talk to your doctor if you have an unhealed wound following surgery or if you have a surgery scheduled.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy. Both men and women should use effective birth control during axitinib treatment. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if axitinib passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children less than 18 years of age.