Vandetanib is used for aggressive medullary thyroid cancer that is causing symptoms and cannot be removed by surgery or has spread to other parts of the body. This is a type of medicine called a protein kinase inhibitor. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved this prescription.
Medullary thyroid cancer occurs in the cells of the thyroid. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck just below your Adam’s apple. Your thyroid produces hormones that regulate your blood pressure, heart rate, weight, and body temperature. Several types of thyroid cancer exist. Some grow very slowly and others can be very aggressive. Most cases of thyroid cancer can be cured with treatment. Thyroid cancer rates seem to be increasing. Some doctors think this is because new technology is allowing them to find small thyroid cancers that may not have been found in the past. Thyroid cancer might not cause any symptoms at first. But as it grows, it can cause pain and swell in your neck. Thyroid cancer typically doesn’t cause any signs or symptoms early in the disease. As thyroid cancer grows, it may cause:
⦁ Changes to your voice including increasing hoarseness
⦁ A lump that can be felt through the skin on your neck
⦁ Swollen lymph nodes in your neck
⦁ Difficulty swallowing
⦁ Pain in your neck and throat
Thyroid cancer occurs when cells in your thyroid undergo genetic changes. The mutations allow the cells to grow and multiply rapidly. The cells also lose the ability to die as normal cells would. The accumulating abnormal thyroid cells form a tumor. The abnormal cells can invade nearby tissue and can spread to other parts of the body. Factors that may increase the risk of thyroid cancer include:
- Exposure to high levels of radiation. Radiation therapy treatments to the head and neck increase the risk of thyroid cancer.
- Female sex. Thyroid cancer occurs more often in women than in men.
- Certain inherited genetic syndromes. Genetic syndromes that increase the risk of thyroid cancer include Cowden’s syndrome, familial medullary thyroid cancer, familial adenomatous polyposis, and multiple endocrine neoplasia.
How does Vandetanib work?
Vandetanib works by interfering with the pathways that signal certain cancer cells to grow. The way that cells in the bodywork and grows is regulated by various enzymes called protein kinases. These enzymes can be found in certain receptors on the surface of cells that are involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells.
In cancerous cells, the kinases make the cells grow and multiply abnormally. They also stimulate nearby blood vessels to grow into the tumor. The new blood vessels allow the cancer cells to grow and multiply by supplying them with oxygen and nutrients. They also allow the cancerous cells to spread into other areas of the body through blood circulation.
Vandetanib works by attaching to a certain protein inside the cancer cells and blocking the action of a protein kinase. This stops the signals that tell the cancer cells to grow and multiply. It also stops blood vessels from growing into the tumor. This reduces the tumor’s blood supply and with it, its supply of oxygen and nutrients. Both these effects stop the tumor from growing. Vandetanib may also act directly on cancer cells to kill them or slow down their growth.
How to use Vandeanib?
Take this medication by mouth usually once daily or as directed by your doctor. Each dose may be taken with or without a meal. Swallow this medication whole. If you cannot swallow the tablets whole, place your dose in a glass of non-carbonated water and stir for about 10 minutes until the tablet has broken apart. Take note that the tablet will not completely dissolve. Do not use other liquids. Swallow the mixture right away. Rinse the glass with 4 ounces of non-carbonated water, stir to mix, and then swallow.
Do not break or crush the tablets. Do not touch the dust or powder from this medication. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day. Tell your doctor if your condition worsens.
What are the side effects off Vandetanib?
Common side effects:
⦁ Abdominal pain
⦁ Dry mouth
⦁ Loss of appetite
⦁ High blood pressure
⦁ General feeling of being unwell
⦁ Dry skin
⦁ Skin sensitivity to sunlight
⦁ Hair loss
⦁ Nail abnormalities
⦁ Changes in taste
⦁ Blurred vision
⦁ Upper respiratory tract infection
⦁ Muscle spasms
Call your doctor right away if the side effects persist or get worse.
Warnings and Precautions
⦁ Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs and may harm an unborn baby, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from the tablets. If contact occurs, wash the area thoroughly.
⦁ People with an abnormal heart rhythm seen on a heart monitoring trace as a prolonged QT interval or taking medicines that can cause prolonged QT interval, this medicine should also be used carefully.
⦁ Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug especially dizziness when getting up from a sitting or lying position.
⦁ Do not give this medication to others even if they have the same condition or symptoms as yours.
⦁ This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use any machinery, or do any activity that needs your full alertness until you know how this drug affects you.
⦁ Inform your doctor if you have any other medications (nonprescription, prescription, or herbal products).
⦁ If you ever had an allergic reaction to this drug, tell your doctor as well as if you have any allergies. This product may contain ingredients that cause an allergic reaction.