Medication Information Leaflet

What is this medication for?

Abemaciclib is used to treat hormone-positive breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It may be used together with other medications such as Letrozole, Exemestane, Anastrozole or Fulvestrant.

How should I take/use this medication?

  • Take Abemaciclib two times a day
  • You may take it with or without food
  • Do not break, chew or crush the tablet. Swallow the tablet whole.
    • Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have difficulty swallowing

What should I do if I forget to take/use this medication?

If you forget to take a dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the usual time. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for the missed dose.

What precautions should I take?

Inform your healthcare professional if:
  • You are allergic to this medication
  • You or your partner becomes pregnant or plans for pregnancy
    • You should use effective birth control during and for three weeks after stopping treatment
  • You are breastfeeding
    • Do not breastfeed during treatment and for at least three weeks after the last dose of treatment
  • You are taking or intend to take any other medications, including supplements, traditional medications and herbal remedies

What are some common side-effects of this medication?

  • Diarrhea
    • Drink plenty of clear fluids to replace those lost (two litres everyday)
    • Avoid oily or spicy food and milk or daily products
    • Take the anti-diarrheal medication (e.g. Loperamide) that the doctor gives you when necessary
  • Nausea and vomiting
    • Take small, frequent meals throughout the day
  • Stomach discomfort and decreased appetite
  • Rash
    • Avoid taking hot showers
  • Hair loss
    • Use a gentle shampoo to wash your hair
  • Feeling tired and lack of energy
    • Do not drive or operate machinery when you feel tired
  • Decreased white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets
    • This may put you at a higher risk of infections, bleeding or bruising and feeling tired
    • To reduce your risk of infection:
      • Avoid crowds and people who are sick. Wear a face mask when you go out.
      • Wash your hands after using the toilet and before handling food
      • Eat food that is fresh and completely cooked, and avoid raw or half-cooked food
    • To reduce your risk of bleeding problems:
      • Be careful when using sharp objects such as knives
      • Use a soft bristle toothbrush to brush your teeth gently as your gums may bleed more easily
      • Apply direct pressure to any cuts or wounds to help stop bleeding

What are some rare but serious side-effects that I need to seek medical advice immediately?

  • Symptoms of a drug allergy including one or more of the following:
    • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
    • Difficulty in breathing
    • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body
  • Very bad diarrhea that does not go away even after taking anti-diarrheal medications
  • Signs of infection - fever of 38°C and above, chills, cough, sore throat, pain or burning feeling on passing urine
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, black sticky stools or blood in urine
  • Dark urine or light coloured stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, yellowing of your eyes or skin
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat, chest discomfort or if you feel faint, lightheaded, or dizzy
  • Cough with chest pain or breathing difficulty
  • Signs of blood clot e.g. warmth, pain or redness with swelling on arm or leg

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.

What food or medication should I avoid when I take this medication?

Avoid taking grapefruit or grapefruit juice when you are taking Abemaciclib as it may interact with your medication and increase the risk of side-effects.

How should I store this medication?

Store in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. Keep this medication away from children.

How should I throw away this medication safely?

Pack Abemaciclib into a bag and bring it back to the pharmacy where you received the medication from.

If you take more than the recommended dose, please seek medical advice immediately. The information provided on this page does not replace information from your healthcare professional. Please consult your healthcare professional for more information.

This article is jointly developed by members of the National Medication Information workgroup. The workgroup consists of cluster partners (National Healthcare Group, National University Health System and SingHealth), community pharmacies (Guardian, Unity and Watsons) and Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore. The content does not reflect drug availability and supply information in pharmacies and healthcare institutions. You are advised to check with the respective institutions for such information.

Last updated on August 2020
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