Information leaflet on everolimus
This leaflet provides information on a course of treatment called everolimus. 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 towards the end of the leaflet.
What is everolimus?
Everolimus is a cancer treatment which is given as tablets.
Why am I having everolimus?
Everolimus has been found to help some patients with your type of cancer.
How often will I see the specialist team?
You will see the specialist team regularly. 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 everolimus tablets?
Everolimus tablets should be taken once a day. Try to take at approximately the same time every day. You can take the tablets with or without food. The tablets should be swallowed whole with a glass of water. They must not be chewed or crushed. You should not take your tablets with grapefruit or grapefruit juice.
How many everolimus 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?
Leave the dose you have missed and continue as normal the following day.
What if I take too many tablets?
Please contact Velindre Cancer Centre immediately for advice. The telephone numbers are 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.
Can I bring relatives and friends with me?
You are welcome to bring someone to stay with you during your treatment. Space is limited so there is not usually room for more than one person. Treatment areas are not suitable for young children.
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.
Your mouth may become sore or you may notice small ulcers. Your doctor may prescribe mouthwashes or medication to help with this.
If your mouth becomes very painful or you are finding it difficult to eat and drink, you should stop taking your everolimus tablets and contact Velindre Cancer Centre for advice. The telephone number is towards the end of the leaflet.
Everolimus can cause skin rashes or irritation. Using a non perfumed moisturising cream may help. If the rash becomes uncomfortable please contact Velindre Cancer Centre for advice. The telephone numbers are towards the end of the leaflet.
You may have diarrhoea with this treatment. If this occurs it is important that you drink plenty of fluids. You may have to take loperamide tablets to control diarrhoea. If you have four or more bowel movements in 24 hours above what is normal for you please contact Velindre Cancer Centre immediately. The telephone numbers are towards the end of the leaflet.
Loss of appetite and sickness
You may experience a loss of appetite and some people may feel sick whilst taking everolimus but this can usually be well controlled with anti sickness medication. If you are sick more than once in 24 hours despite taking regular anti-sickness medicine, you should stop taking your everolimus
tablets and contact Velindre Cancer Centre for advice. The telephone numbers are towards the end of the leaflet.
It is common for your sense of taste to change when on this treatment. Sometimes mouthwashes can help. If you do not have a sore mouth, try spicy or sweet and sour or strong flavoured food.
This medication can change blood sugar levels. We will monitor your blood sugars whilst on this treatment. This affects non-diabetic people as well as people with diabetes. If you are Diabetic - you will need to monitor your Diabetes more frequently whilst taking Everolimus. 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 you treatment helpline.
We may ask you to provide a urine sample or blood sample so that we can check you sugar levels.
Tiredness and fatigue
Everolimus may 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 rest
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. Contact Velindre Cancer Centre immediately if you develop any signs of infection, for example flu like symptoms. The telephone numbers are at the end of the leaflet.
Low blood counts
Everolimus can affect your blood count, occasionally, this may increase your risk of bleeding. If you notice unusual bruising or bleeding, please contact Velindre Cancer Centre immediately for advice. The telephone numbers are towards the end of the leaflet.
Other side effects and information
Some people having everolimus may experience breathing problems caused by the tablets. If you notice shortness of breath, cough or any breathing problems, please contact your doctor or specialist nurse. You will be monitored at regular clinic visits.
Some people may experience problems with headaches. Try taking the painkillers you would normally take for a headache. If you find that painkillers do not help or you have any problems with your vision please tell your doctor or nurse.
Everolimus may increase your chance of getting a blood clot. If you’re breathless or have pain in your arms or legs please contact Velindre Cancer Centre or your GP immediately. The telephone numbers are towards the end of the leaflet.
If you haven’t recently had a dental check-up we would advise you to do this before starting this treatment if possible. If you need any dental treatment it is important that you discuss this with your hospital doctor before having any dental work carried out.
Some patients experience indigestion and/or upper abdominal pain, if this causes you problems, ring Velindre Cancer Centre, and inform when next in clinic.
Avoid drinking or eating grapefruit/ grapefruit juice whilst taking everolimus.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding
It is important you do not become pregnant or father a child whilst having treatment. This is because everolimus could damage the unborn baby. In addition, it should not be used whilst breast feeding.
Is it alright to take other medicines?
If you are taking other medicines please let your doctor, nurse or pharmacist know.
There are many medicines that you may have to avoid, please discuss your medicines with your doctor and do not take over-the-counter medications without advice.
NB:There are serious interactions with certain medications.
Sometimes cancer drugs can have very serious side effects which rarely can be life threatening. It is important to inform Velindre cancer centre if you are concerned about any side-effects.
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 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
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
7 days a week 8am – 8pm for general queries on cancer
Tenovus freephone 0808 808 1010
7 days a week 8am – 8pm for general queries on cancer
This information is also available in Welsh
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 www.medicines.org.uk. 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
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.