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Afinitor® (everolimus) for Advanced Kidney Cancer

Afinitor is a medication used to treat advanced kidney cancer in adults

Dosage:  10mg once a day with a full glass of water with or without food
How supplied: 2.5mg, 5mg, 7.5mg and 10mg tablets in blister packs.  
Storage: Store at room temperature, keep dry and protect from light.  Store in original blister packs until ready for immediate use. Do NOT store in pill boxes.  Do not take Afinitor that is out of date. As with all medications, keep out of the reach of children.
Schedule:  Afinitor is taken by mouth daily at the same time every day. It should be taken consistently with or without food.  

– Do NOT crush or break tablets

Patient Assistance Now Oncology (PANO) can help patients access information about insurance, pharmacy plans, Medicare and financial assistance.  Call 1-800-282-7630 or go to

Novartis can supply co-pay cards to eligible patients. To find out if you are eligible call 1-877-577-7756 or go to

How should I take Afinitor?

  • Take it exactly as your healthcare provider tells you
  • As noted above, take it at the same time daily.  Take it consistently with food or consistently without food.
  • Do not take a tablet that has been crushed or broken
  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it has been more than 6 hours.  You can take it up to 6 hours after you normally take it. If it has been more than 6 hours, skip the dose and take it at your usual time the next day. Do NOT take 2 doses for one that you may have missed.
  • If you vomit after taking a dose, do not take an additional dose
  • If you think you have taken an extra dose, call you healthcare provider right away

Dietary Restrictions:

  • Do not drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit during your treatment with Afinitor. Grapefruit may increase the amount of Afinitor in your body to a harmful level.
  • Your healthcare provider may ask you to fast prior to obtaining blood work while you are taking Afinitor.

What is the most important information to know about Afinitor?

Afinitor can increase your risk for infection and cause serious lung problems. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any of the following signs or symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.5 or higher
  • Shaking chills
  • Shortness of breath or breathing problems
  • New or worsening cough
  • Chest pain

Before starting Afinitor you should tell your healthcare provider if you:

  • Have diabetes
  • Have high cholesterol
  • Have an infection or have had hepatitis B
  • Have recently received a “live” vaccine or are scheduled to receive a live vaccine
  • Had surgery within the past 7 days or are scheduled to have surgery
  • Are pregnant or could become pregnant. Afinitor can harm your unborn baby. You should use an effective method of birth control while taking Afinitor and for 8 weeks after your last dose of Afinitor.  
  • Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.  It is not known if Afinitor passes into the breast milk.  Do NOT breastfeed while taking Afinitor or for 2 weeks after your last dose of Afinitor.
  • Are allergic to any medications

What else should I tell my healthcare provider?

Bring a list to each visit of all your medications; including supplements such as vitamins and herbal supplements. Afinitor may affect how other medications work and other medications or supplements may have an effect on how Afinitor works. Some examples are:

  • certain antibiotics or antifungal medication
  • some medications used to treat depression
  • some medications used to treat HIV/AIDS
  • some medications used to treat certain heart conditions or high blood pressure
  • certain medications used to treat seizures
  • herbal supplements like St. John’s Wort

Vaccinations: Live vaccines or close contact with someone who has received a live vaccine should be avoided while taking Afinitor. Examples of live vaccines include:

  • Intranasal flu vaccine
  • Shingles vaccine
  • Chicken pox vaccine
  • Oral polio vaccine
  • Measles, mumps and rubella vaccine

What are the possible side effects of Afinitor?

Serious side effects include:

  • Pneumonitis (inflammation of the lungs)
  • Infection and decreased blood counts
  • Kidney failure
  • Angioedema (swelling of the tissue under the skin or mucous membranes that may be life threatening)
  • High blood sugar levels
  • High cholesterol
  • Delayed wound healing

Common side effects include:

  • Mouth pain/mouth sores
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches/joint pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Itching
  • Rash/skin changes such as dryness
  • Mild cough
  • Swelling of the arms and legs
  • Headache
  • Nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite

These are just some of the possible side effects of Afinitor.  Please tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or that do not go away. 

For more information about Afinitor ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Adapted from the Afinitor (everolimus) package insert. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Dec 2019

KCA disclaimer statement:  You should rely primarily on your doctor for medical