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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Everolimus (Afinitor®, Zortress®)


Brand Names: Afinitor®, Zortress®

Everolimus is used in the treatment of renal cell carcinoma, pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, and subependymal giant cell astrocytoma, which is a type of brain tumor.

Etoposide is part of a class of drugs called kinase inhibitors. By blocking enzymes known as kinases, these drugs stop cancer cells from reproducing. They also decrease the supply of blood to cancer cells.

This medication is given as a tablet that is taken by mouth. Patients can choose whether to take everolimus with food or without, but it is important to stay consistent (in other words, always with food or always without food) and to take the drug at the same time each day. Everolimus comes in blister packs that should not be opened until a tablet is needed.

Tablets should be swallowed whole with water, and should not be chewed, crushed, or split. The exact dose and schedule of everolimus depends on the condition being treated, how well the cancer is responding to treatment, and several other factors. Your doctor will determine the best regimen for you.

Everolimus side effects

To prevent problematic interactions between everolimus and other drugs, be sure to tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications, and what other medications and supplements you are currently taking. You should also inform your doctor if you have or ever had liver tumor, liver disease, kidney disease, if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

Talk with your doctor before having any surgery, including dental surgery, during treatment with everolimus. Certain types of mouthwash may worsen sores and swelling in the mouth that can occur as a side effect of this medication; ask your doctor before using any mouthwash products. You should not receive any vaccinations before consulting your doctor. Star fruits, grapefruit, and Seville oranges should be avoided while taking this medication.

Possible side effects of everolimus may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Changes in sense of taste
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Nosebleed
  • Dry skin
  • Acne
  • Pain in arms or legs
  • Mood swings or other personality changes

Some of everolimus’ side effects can be serious. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Swelling of eyes, face, mouth, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Flushing
  • Extreme thirst or hunger
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Pale skin
  • Dizziness
  • Seizures
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat

Please note that this is not a comprehensive list. Patients may experience additional effects not mentioned above.

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), your team of cancer experts will explain each of the side effects of everolimus with you in detail, as well as the side effects and expectations of all other medications planned as part of your individualized treatment plan.

Everolimus for cancer treatment

Everolimus is approved by the FDA for the following:

  • Treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma that has not improved with other medications
  • Treatment of subependymal giant cell astrocytoma, a type of brain tumor, which cannot be treated with surgery in patients with the genetic condition known as tuberous sclerosis
  • Treatment of progressive pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors that cannot be treated with surgery, has spread to areas near the pancreas, or has spread to other areas of the body.

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), our integrative approach to cancer treatment works to fight your disease on all fronts and ensures that you remain at the center of everything we do. We encourage participation from both you and your family to make certain you are comfortable with all decisions made regarding your treatment.

The information provided here is for educational purposes only. In no way should it be considered as offering medical advice. Cancer Treatment Centers of America assumes no responsibility for how this material is used. Please check with a physician if you suspect you are ill. Also note that while Cancer Treatment Centers of America frequently updates its contents, medical information changes rapidly. Therefore, some information may be out of date.