What is Vandetanib?

Vandetanib is an anti-cancer medication prescribed to treat thyroid cancer. This medicine is not available in India currently. Not advised to use in patients younger than 18 years.

Type of drug

Vandetanib belongs to class of medicine called tyrosine kinase inhibitors. It is an anti-cancer medication.

Use in brief

Vandetanib is prescribed to use in the treatment of cancer caused to thyroid.


Vandetanib itself is an active ingredient in branded medicine well known as Caprelsa.


Vandetanib is prescribed in the treatment of

  • Locally advanced medullary  Thyroid  Cancer
  • Metastatic Medullary Thyroid Cancer

How does Vandetanib work?

Vandetanib basically belongs to anti-cancer type of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors and works by stopping the multiplication of cancer cells by binding to the enzyme receptors. Also restricts the development of new blood vessels within the tumour that help to supply blood to the cancer cells.  

How to Take Vandetanib?

Form of medicine – Vandetanib medicine is available in the form of tablets.

Read about lung cancer medications

When and How to use?

Follow the instructions about usage and schedule as mentioned in the prescription. In general this medicine may be taken with or without food. Never crush, chew the tablet but swallow whole medicine with some water. In case of patients with difficulty in swallowing, can dissolve the tablet in about 2 ounce of non-carbonated water and stir to allow the tablet to disperse in the water (this tablet actually won’t dissolve in water completely) and drink the dispersion mixture. Add some more water and consume any remnants of medicine in the glass to make sure the complete dosage is consumed.

Common Dosage:

The recommended dose of Vandetanib  is 300 mg taken orally once daily until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity occurs. 

Dosage depends on the severity of the health condition been treated and is decided by the doctor. Follow the instruction by your doctor. Never miss or overdose the medicine. Never take an extra dose if missed by mistake and if it is almost the next dosage scheduled time. Consult your doctor immediately for medical supervision if any overdosage happens.

When to Avoid Vandetanib?

Vandetanib is not advised to use in patients suffering from some health conditions such as:

  • Allergic reaction towards the Vandetanib medication
  • Long QT syndrome since birth
  • Low thyroid hormone levels
  • Low magnesium in the blood
  • Low calcium in the blood
  • Low potassium in the blood
  • High blood pressure
  • Pregnancy
  • Severe kidney impairment
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Prolonged QT interval on ECG
  • Cardiac failure issues
  • Lung Tissue Problems
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Renal Impairment
  • Lung toxicity

Side-effects of Vandetanib

Vandetanib may possibly show some side effects in some patients. It is advised to consult your doctor if any of such side effects are noticed and if they are prolonged. Below mentioned are some possible side effects by Vandetanib. It may show side effects that are not mentioned here in this list.

  • Abdominal or stomach cramps or pain
  • Bleeding gums
  • Blurred vision
  • Body aches or pain
  • Chest pain
  • Cloudy urine
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions
  • Cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Difficulty with breathing or swallowing
  • Dizziness
  • Ear congestion
  • Fainting
  • Fever or chills
  • Headache
  • Increased menstrual flow or vaginal bleeding
  • Irregular heartbeat recurrent
  • Loss of voice
  • Muscle cramps in the hands, arms, feet, legs, or face
  • Nervousness
  • Nosebleeds
  • Numbness and tingling around the mouth, fingertips, or feet
  • Paralysis
  • Pounding in the ears
  • Prolonged bleeding from cuts
  • Red or black, tarry stools
  • Red or dark brown urine
  • Slow or fast heartbeat
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Tenderness
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Tremor
  • Troubled breathing
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Watery or bloody diarrhea.

Effects  on organs:

Heart: QT prolongation and Torsades de Pointes. Heart failure, including fatalities, occurred in patients treated with Vandetanib. Monitor for signs and symptoms of heart failure.

Lung: Interstitial Lund Disease or pneumonitis can occur.

Skin: Severe skin reactions including  Stevens Johnsons Syndrome leading to death have been reported. Photosensitivity reactions can prolong even  4months after discontinuation of Vandetanib.

Brain: Ischaemic Cerebro vascular events can occur.

Bleeding:  Serious hemorrhagic events, including fatalities, occurred in patients treated with CAPRELSA. Do not administer Vandetanib to patients with a recent history of hemoptysis of ≥1/2 teaspoon of red blood.

It is advised to consult the doctor and share detailed information about the current health condition so that the doctor can alter the dosage depending on the patient’s health condition.

Reported Allergic Reactions?

It is not recommended in patients who have known allergic reactions towards Vandetanib. Rashes, throat swelling, difficulty breathing are the possible allergic reaction noticed. Bring it to the notice of your doctor if any such allergic reactions are observed for an immediate medical emergency.

Effect on menstrual cycle

This medicine may cause irregularity or stop the menstrual cycle temporarily. Consult your gynaecologist for further guidelines to follow.

Drug Interactions to Be Careful About

Vandetanib may possibly show drug interaction with some other medication if they are used together. It is advised to share the medication details that you might be using any with your doctor before he prescribes this medicine to you.

Vandetanib has the possibility of showing drug interaction if used along with the below mentioned list of medicine.

  • Azithromycin
  • Amiodarone
  • Chloroquine
  • Disopyramide
  • Dofetilide
  • Dolasetron
  • Granisetron
  • Haloperidol
  • Methadone
  • Moxifloxacin
  • Pimozide
  • Procainamide
  • Sotalol
  • Clarithromycin.

Food interactions

There is no specific restriction on foods that need to be avoided while under this medication. Follow the guidelines specified by your doctor.

Interactions with laboratory procedures :

Limited data is available on interaction with any diagnostic test while under the medication but it is always good to share details about your current medication before attending any lab tests so that you doctor and lab technician is aware of.

Is Vandetanib Addictive?

No drug addiction is noticed in case of Vandetanib.

Can I have Vandetanib with alcohol?

Alcohol consumption is not advised during the treatment with this medicine. Consult your doctor if you have a habit of taking alcohol at regular basis.

Can I have Vandetanib When Pregnant?

Not advised to use in general in pregnant women. Touching or inhaling the dust of the medicine is not advised for pregnant women as it can directly show impact on respiratory system and do harm to even fetus.

Can I have Vandetanib when feeding a baby?

Not advised to use in general in breastfeeding women.

Can I drive after taking Vandetanib?

Some patients may experience dizziness and blurred vision as a side effect. Hence, it is not advised to do activities which require alertness such ad driving or operating heavy machinery.   

Effect of overdose Vandetanib

Serious adverse effects such as breathing problems, sometimes even death may be possible if overdosage happens in large quantities. Consult your doctor immediately if you notice overdosage.  

Effect of using expired Vandetanib?

It is advised not to use any medicine that is expired to avoid adverse effects. Consult your doctor immediately if any adverse effects are noticed by taking any expired medicine. It is advised to check the label while purchasing the medicine to verify the expiry date to be safe.

Effect of missing a dose of Vandetanib

No major adverse effects are noticed if only one dosage is missed. But if you are missing the dosages regularly, it is advised to keep a reminder so that you don’t miss the regular dosage.

Storage requirements

It is advised to store the medication away from direct sunlight, moisture, heat and to keep at room temperature. Keep away from the reach of the children and pets.

Different Brands of Vandetanib medicine available

Below mentioned is the available brand of medicine that contains Vandetanib as key ingredient, and your doctor may prescribe this to treat the condition.

  • Caprelsa – Manufactured by Glaxo SmithKline Pharmaceuticals Ltd
  • Zactima (AstraZeneca ) / Zictifa (AstraZeneca).


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