Abemaciclib: What is it and What you need to Know

Read Time: 7 minute(s)


In a world where breast cancer is complicated, there’s a solution: Abemaciclib. It’s a new hope for those fighting hormone-positive breast cancer. Also called Verzenio, Abemaciclib is a major breakthrough in cancer treatment. It helps stop the disease from getting worse in a personalized way.

As always this serves as a guide, please consult a medical professional for more information.

What is Abemaciclib?


Abemaciclib, known as a targeted cancer drug, works in a unique way. It’s a powerful kinase inhibitor that stops abnormal protein signaling in cancer cells, blocking their growth and ability to multiply. This specific action makes it an encouraging option for those fighting breast cancer.

Role of Abemaciclib in Hormone-Positive Breast Cancer Treatment

In the treatment of hormone-positive breast cancer, Abemaciclib plays different roles depending on the stage of the disease:

1. Metastatic Breast Cancer

In cases where the cancer has spread beyond the breast to other parts of the body, Abemaciclib helps to slow down further progression.

2. Locally Advanced Breast Cancer

For patients with locally advanced breast cancer that is large or has spread to nearby tissues or lymph nodes, Abemaciclib can be used to shrink the tumor before surgery.

3. High-Risk Early Breast Cancer

It is also used in situations where there is a high risk of recurrence for early breast cancer after initial treatment, helping to reduce the chances of the cancer coming back.

Understanding the specific role that Abemaciclib plays in each stage of breast cancer treatment can empower you as you navigate through your own journey. Whether you’re just starting your treatment plan or are well into it, having knowledge about how Abemaciclib functions may provide insights into what you may experience in the future.

How should I take Abemaciclib?

Abemaciclib, a powerful tool in the battle against certain types of breast cancer, needs to be taken carefully to make sure it works well.

Dosage Recommendations

Typically, the prescribed dosage is oral administration twice daily. It’s a comfort to know that you can take this medication with or without food, as per your preference.

Missed Dose Protocol

Life happens and you might forget a dose. If this occurs, take your missed dose as soon as you remember unless it is close to the time of your next scheduled dose. In that case, skip the missed dose entirely. Do not double up on doses to make up for a missed one.

Remember, consistency is key with Abemaciclib. Regular adherence to your medication schedule boosts its efficacy in halting the growth of cancer cells.

What are Abemaciclib Side Effects?

When using Abemaciclib, it’s important to understand and manage any side effects that may occur. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Common Side Effects:

1. Infection Risk

To reduce your risk of getting sick while taking Abemaciclib, you can:

  • Maintain good hygiene by washing your hands regularly.
  • Avoid close contact with individuals who are sick.
  • If you experience a fever or notice any other signs of infection, make sure to inform your doctor right away.

2. Anemia

Anemia is a condition where your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body. Some common symptoms of anemia include fatigue (feeling tired) and shortness of breath.

Here are a few things you can do to manage anemia:

  • Try incorporating more iron-rich foods into your diet, such as lean meats, beans, and leafy green vegetables.
  • Your healthcare provider may also recommend iron supplements if necessary. It’s important to discuss this option with them before starting any new medications.

3. Appetite Loss

If you’re experiencing a loss of appetite while taking Abemaciclib, here are a few tips that may help:

  • Opt for smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day instead of larger ones.
  • Focus on eating nutrient-dense foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Consider speaking with a registered dietitian who can offer personalized strategies based on your individual needs and preferences.

4. Headaches

Headaches are another common side effect reported by some individuals using Abemaciclib. While everyone’s experience may be different, here are a couple of general suggestions that could potentially provide relief:

  • Make sure you’re staying hydrated throughout the day by drinking an adequate amount of water.
  • Try to establish regular sleep patterns by going to bed and waking up around the same time each day.
  • If needed, your doctor may recommend certain over-the-counter pain relievers that could be taken under their guidance.

Serious Adverse Reactions:

While less common, there are some serious adverse reactions that could potentially occur with Abemaciclib. It’s important to be aware of these and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following symptoms arise:

1. Severe Infections

If you notice any unusual pain, swelling, or redness on your body, it could be a sign of a serious infection. In such cases, it’s crucial to contact your healthcare team right away for further evaluation and guidance.

2. Liver Problems

Certain liver problems may manifest as yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice), dark urine, or severe nausea. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to consult with your healthcare team urgently for proper assessment and management.

3. Blood Clotting Disorders

Abemaciclib may affect your body’s ability to form blood clots properly, which can lead to unexpected bleeding or bruising. If you observe any unusual bleeding or bruising that doesn’t seem to resolve on its own, it’s essential to seek prompt medical evaluation.

By staying vigilant and maintaining open communication with your healthcare providers, patients can effectively manage side effects associated with Abemaciclib.

What are some Abemaciclib Precautions?

When starting treatment with Abemaciclib, it’s important to talk about your complete medical history with your doctor. Here are important things you should know:

1. Precautions Before Treatment

Before you begin taking Abemaciclib, there are a few precautions you should take into account:

  • Let your doctor know about any allergies you may have.
  • Discuss all the medications you are currently taking, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements, to avoid any potential interactions that could be harmful.
  • If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, understand the risks involved as Abemaciclib may cause harm to an unborn baby.

2. Potential Interactions

While using Abemaciclib, you should be aware of potential interactions it may have with other substances:

  • Be cautious when consuming certain foods like grapefruit and grapefruit juice as they can affect the levels of Abemaciclib in your blood.
  • Avoid using St. John’s Wort as it may make the medication less effective.

3. Storage Guidelines

To ensure the effectiveness and safety of Abemaciclib, proper storage is essential:

  • Store the medication at room temperature, away from moisture and heat.
  • Always keep the bottle tightly closed when you’re not using it.

By following these precautions, being mindful of potential interactions, and storing Abemaciclib correctly, you can maximize its benefits while minimizing any possible risks.

Storage and Disposal of Abemaciclib

Ensuring the effectiveness of Abemaciclib involves more than just following dosage instructions; proper storage and disposal are crucial as well. Here’s how to handle this medication responsibly:

Proper Storage

  • Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
  • Keep the medication in its original container with the lid tightly closed.
  • Place out of reach of children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion.

Medication Disposal

  • Do not flush Abemaciclib down the toilet or pour into a drain unless instructed.
  • Utilize community drug take-back programs for safe disposal.
  • If no take-back program is available, mix the medicine with an undesirable substance, seal it in a bag, and dispose of it in the trash.

These steps ensure that Abemaciclib remains effective when you need it and is safely discarded when you don’t.

In Conclusion

Abemaciclib can be a game-changer in the treatment of hormone-positive breast cancer. For optimal results, it must be used as directed by your healthcare provider. Consulting with them ensures you receive personalized advice tailored to your unique health situation.

Adherence to prescribed guidelines is critical; never overlook this. Stay alert for any potential side effects and report them promptly to your healthcare team. Your vigilance helps ensure the best outcome for your treatment journey.

Read More: Selegiline: What is it and What you need to Know

Picture of MMC Writing Team

MMC Writing Team

An Apple a day keeps the doctor away. We hope that we can provide you with information to stay healthy.

Picture of MMC Writing Team

MMC Writing Team

An Apple a day keeps the doctor away. We hope that we can provide you with information to stay healthy.

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