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Precautions and Warnings With Vorinostat

Some people may have an increased risk for anemia, blood clots, or certain other problems when undergoing chemotherapy treatment with vorinostat. Safety precautions also include warnings of potentially serious drug interactions and risks for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. To help ensure a safe treatment, make sure your healthcare provider is aware of your complete medical history.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking vorinostat (Zolinza®) if you have:
 
  • Liver disease, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or liver failure
  • Ever had a blood clot in a vein or lung
  • Anemia
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Diabetes, prediabetes, or high blood sugar levels
  • Been told you have low or high levels of potassium or magnesium
  • Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
 
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
 
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
 
You should also tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
 

Specific Vorinostat Precautions and Warnings

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking this medication include the following:
 
  • Vorinostat has been reported to cause blood clots in the veins and lungs. Seek medical attention if you develop symptoms of a blood clot, such as:
 
    • Sudden, sharp chest pain
    • Unexplained shortness of breath or coughing up blood
    • Warmth, redness, swelling, or pain in one or both legs.
 
  • This chemotherapy drug can decrease the number of red blood cells and platelets in your blood, which could increase your risk for anemia or bleeding problems. Your healthcare provider will monitor your blood cell counts with a blood test throughout treatment. Contact your healthcare provider if you experience problems such as:
 
    • Unusual bleeding or bruising
    • Extreme fatigue
    • Paleness
    • Shortness of breath.
 
  • This medicine should be used cautiously in people with mild or moderate liver disease. People with severe liver disease should not take vorinostat.
 
  • You may experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea during treatment. It is important to drink plenty of fluids (about eight 8-ounce glasses each day) to prevent dehydration. Let your healthcare provider know if you have persistent or severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. He or she may be able to give you medicine to help minimize these problems.
 
  • Vorinostat may increase blood sugar (glucose) levels, which could be especially problematic in people with diabetes. Your healthcare provider may recommend you monitor your blood sugar levels more closely. Let him or her know if your blood sugar levels become too high, or if you have signs of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), such as:
 
    • Increased thirst
    • Increased urination
    • Dizziness.
 
  • You will need blood tests to check for potentially serious vorinostat side effects every two weeks for the first two months of treatment, and then every month thereafter. Make sure to keep all of your healthcare provider and laboratory appointments.
 
 
  • Vorinostat is a pregnancy Category D medication, which means it may harm an unborn child if taken during pregnancy (see Zolinza and Pregnancy).
 
  • It is unknown whether vorinostat passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Zolinza and Breastfeeding).
 
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