Disclaimer: This patient information sheet summarizes the information about sunitinib as prescribed for treatment of advanced kidney cancer and is not meant to substitute for medical advice. If you would like more information, talk with your healthcare team. Every patient is different, and only you and your doctor can decide the best treatment plan for you. Please see our guide on talking to your doctor about treatments for kidney cancer.
Patient Assistance Programs (PAP) are financial programs to help cover costs of medical tests and treatments. They are usually offered by drug manufacturers but can also be through individual hospitals, local governments, and private organizations, and each PAP will have different benefits and enrollment requirements and forms. Don’t let the paperwork stop you from getting the help you need and contact the KCA if you need help understanding your options.Patient Assistance Program
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What type of drug is it?: Targeted therapies (some also referred to as TKIs) are drug treatment that work to slow or stop cancer cells from growing by blocking pathways your tumor cells use to grow and spread.Targeted therapy (also referred to as a tyrosine kinase inhibitor or TKI).
How is it prescribed?: Sunitinib is approved to be used alone (as a single agent).
How is it administered?: Sunitinib is a capsule taken by mouth (with or without food).
Do NOT crush or break tablets before taking. If you are unable to swallow the tablets, notify your healthcare provider for further instructions.
How often do I take it?: Sunitinib is taken once a day (at the same time every day) for 4 weeks followed by 2 weeks off. This is a 6-week cycle that is repeated until your doctor decides to alter treatment.
If you miss a dose, please call your healthcare provider for guidance on how to proceed.
Storage: Capsules should be stored in a safe place (away from children) where they will be kept dry, avoiding exposure to extreme hot or cold temperatures.
Restrictions: Grapefruit (including all supplements and foods containing grapefruit or grapefruit juice) and St. John’s Wort (also called Hypericum perforatum) may increase the amount of this medication in your body and should be avoided.
Please see our guide on what to ask and tell your doctor before starting any medication.
Side Effects: Sunitinib can cause severe liver problems and it is recommended that patient’s considering this medication have a blood test to check liver function both before and during treatment. Depending on the results, your health care provider may need to lower the dose or change medications.
Additionally, there can be a range of side effects for any medication. Letting your doctor know about these side effects does not mean you have to stop treatment – but may mean that your treatment needs to be adjusted. Therefore, it is important to let your doctor know if you are experiencing side effects so they can manage your medications appropriately. Please see our educational sheet on side effects for more information on what to watch out for and how to talk with your doctor should you experience any of them.
Revised May 2022
Adapted from the package insert. Pfizer, August 2021