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Alpelsib A1332

Information leaflet on alpelisib A1332


This leaflet provides information about your treatment called alpelisib.  The leaflet will explain what this is and when and how it will be given.  It will also tell you about common side effects that you may experience.  Contact telephone numbers are given at the end of the leaflet.

What is alpelisib?

Alpelisib is a cancer treatment which is given as tablets. 


Why am I having alpelisib?

Alpelisib has been found to help some patients with your specific type of breast cancer.


How often will I see the specialist team?

You will have regular blood tests and we will check how you are feeling and discuss any problems you may have.  This is so we can check how the treatment is affecting you. 


How should I take the alpelisib tablets?

Alpelisib tablets should be taken continuously until unacceptable toxicity or disease progression. This will be given in combination with a hormonal called fulvestrant, which is given by injection.  Take the tablets at approximately the same time every day.  You should take the tablets with food.  The tablets should be swallowed whole with a glass of water. 

How many alpelisib tablets will I need to take?

The amount you need to take will be clearly marked on the box.


What should I do if I forget to take my tablets?

If you forget to take your tablets, it can be taken immediately following food and within 9 hours after the time it is usually administered. After more than 9 hours, the dose should be skipped for that day. On the next day it should be taken at the usual time.


What if I take too many tablets?

Please contact Velindre Cancer Centre immediately for advice.  The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.   Please ask for the chemotherapy pager.


How should I store the tablets?

Your tablets should be stored in their original packaging and in a safe place away from children. They should be kept in a cool dry place (below 25oC).

Any unused tablets should be returned to the hospital Pharmacy or your local chemist for safe disposal. 


What are the possible side effects?


This treatment is usually well tolerated but there are some possible side effects that you need to be aware of.  The doctors, nurses and pharmacy team can give you advice or answer any questions you may have.

Effects on your blood sugars

This medication can cause high blood sugar levels.  We will monitor your blood sugars whilst on this treatment. This affects non-diabetic people as well as people with diabetes.  It is important that you are aware of the symptoms of high blood sugar levels.  If you experience any of the following symptoms whilst taking this medication please contact the treatment helpline.

  • Need for frequent urination, or increased urination during the night 
  • Extreme hunger or thirst
  • Confusion and lethargy 
  • Ketone breath (sweet smelling breath – similar to pear drops)
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Generalised weakness and leg cramps 

We may ask you to provide a urine sample or blood sample so that we can check your sugar levels.

Effects on your bowels

This treatment may cause diarrhoea.

  • If you experience diarrhoea it is important that you drink plenty of fluids.  Medication is available to control diarrhoea.  If you have 4 or more bowel movements in 24 hours above what is normal for you please contact Velindre Cancer Centre immediately.  The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.
  • If you experience constipation it is important that you increase the amount of fluids you drink.  You may need laxatives.  You can speak to us or your GP for advice.


Skin problems

Some patients will develop a rash.  Usually this can be easily treated with non-perfumed moisturising cream or lotion.  

If this becomes itchy or widespread, contact Velindre Cancer Centre for advice. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet. 

Loss of appetite or sickness

You may experience loss of appetite, this varies from person to person and some people may have a problem with nausea and vomiting.  If you do have these symptoms please tell your doctor or nurse. They can give you anti-sickness medication to take at home. If you are sick more than once in 24 hours despite taking regular anti-sickness medicine, contact Velindre Cancer Centre for advice.  The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.

Tiredness and fatigue

The treatment can make you feel more tired than usual.  It is important to listen to your body and rest if you need to, but carry out your normal activities if you feel able.  Some people find it beneficial to take gentle exercise as well as taking rest.

Sore mouth

Your mouth may become sore or you may notice small ulcers. Please follow the advice on caring for your mouth in the general chemotherapy leaflet.  Your doctor may prescribe mouthwashes or medication to prevent or clear any infection. If you are unable to eat or drink because of a sore mouth, contact Velindre Cancer centre for advice. The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.

Osteonecrosis of the jaw

Very occasionally, a rare side effect can occur with alpelisib, when there is a breakdown of the jaw bone.  It is called osteonecrosis of the jaw and can be a serious condition. Some of the symptoms are:

  • pain, swelling or infection of the gums
  • loosening of the teeth
  • poor healing of the gums
  • numbness or feeling of heaviness in the jaw

If you have any of the symptoms listed above or any other dental problems tell your Consultant, Specialist Nurse or Velindre pharmacist.

Hair loss

This treatment should not make you lose your hair.  However, some people may experience hair thinning.  We have a leaflet that tells you more about coping with hair loss, if needed.  Please ask your nurse if you would like a copy.


You are at an increased risk of picking up infections because your white blood cells which help fight infections can be reduced by this treatment. 
If you develop an infection whilst your white blood cells are low, you are at risk of sepsis, this can be life threatening.

Contact Velindre Cancer Centre immediately if you develop any signs of infection, for example flu like symptoms or a temperature above 37.5°centigrade or if your temperature is below 35.5°.  The telephone number is at the end of the leaflet.

Other side effects and information

You must avoid eating grapefruits or drinking grapefruit juice at any time whilst you are taking Alpelisib.

Some patients may experience headaches whilst taking alpelisib.  This can be treated with whatever painkillers you would usually take.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding

It is important you do not become pregnant or father a child whilst having treatment. This is because alpelisib could damage the unborn baby. In addition, it should not be used whilst breast feeding.


Is it alright to take other medicines?

In clinic your doctor will discuss your current medicines with you before starting alpelisib. If you are prescribed other medicines, whilst on a course of alpelisib please let your doctor, nurse or pharmacist know at Velindre, as there are many medications which should not be taken with Alpelisib .  There are also many over the counter medicines that you may have to avoid, for example, St. John’s Wort. You need to check with your pharmacist before taking any over the counter medication.

A diagnosis of cancer can increase your risk of developing a blood clot (thrombosis), and having cancer treatment may increase this risk further.  It is important to tell your doctor/ nurse immediately if you have symptoms such as pain, redness and swelling in your leg, or breathlessness and chest pain.  

Blood clots can be very serious.  However, most clots can usually be successfully treated with drugs to thin the blood.  Your doctor or nurse can give you more information

Manufacturer’s patient information leaflets

Velindre leaflets provide information about very common and commonly reported side-effects (we are unable to list all of the common side effects), for more information regarding these and the less common side-effects please refer to the manufacturers patient information leaflets, obtained from Velindre pharmacy and/or on the internet at Sometimes patients may find these leaflets difficult to read however. Please ask if you would like a copy from your doctor or from Velindre pharmacy

Contact telephone numbers

Velindre Cancer Centre        029 2061 5888
For urgent advice at any time of the day or night please ask for the treatment helpline

Pharmacy department         029 2061 5888 ext 6223
Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm for queries about your medicines

Macmillan freephone Helpline     0808 808 0000

Tenovus freephone                 0808 808 1010
cancer helpline

This leaflet was written by health professionals.  The information contained in this leaflet is evidence based.  It has been approved by doctors, nurses and patients.  It is reviewed and updated every 2 years.