This leaflet provides information on a course of treatment called pazopanib. The leaflet will explain what this is and when and how it is given. It will also tell you about common side effects that you may experience. Contact telephone numbers and details of how to obtain further information on pazopanib are given at the end of the leaflet.
What is pazopanib?
Pazopanib is an anti cancer drug. It is not chemotherapy. It works by slowing down or stopping the cancer’s growth.
Pazopanib is given as tablets.
Why am I having pazopanib?
Your doctor has prescribed pazopanib because it has been found to be effective in controlling your type of cancer.
How often will I receive my pazopanib?
Pazopanib is given daily.
The treatment will continue for as long as you are coping with it and it is working well.
You will have a clinic appointment every 4 weeks to review how you are getting on with your treatment.
How should I take the pazopanib tablets?
Pazopanib tablets should be taken once a day with a glass of water. Try to take the tablets at approximately the same time each day. Pazopanib should be taken on an empty stomach either one hour before or two hours after food. Do not crush or chew the tablets.
You should not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while taking pazopanib. This is because it may interfere with the way that pazopanib works and increase the risk of side effects.
How many tablets will I need to take?
This will vary for each person. There are 2 different strength tablets. The tablets are 200mg and 400mg. You may have to take a combination of tablets. The amount you need to take will be clearly marked on the boxes. Remember to check each box to see how many tablets you need to take.
How should I store the pazopanib tablets?
Your tablets should be stored in their original packaging in a safe place away from children. They should be kept in a cool dry place.
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?
There are a number of possible side effects which can occur with pazopanib treatment. The doctors, nurses and pharmacists can give you advice or answer any questions you may have.
We have outlined the most common side effects but haven't included those that are rare and therefore unlikely to affect you. If you notice any effects that aren't listed here, discuss them with your doctor or specialist nurse.
High blood pressure
Pazopanib can cause an increase in blood pressure in some people. Your blood pressure will be checked before you start your treatment and regularly during your treatment. High blood pressure can usually be controlled with tablets prescribed by your doctor. If your blood pressure is not controlled, your treatment may be stopped.
Pazopanib treatment can affect the colour of your hair, which may become grey or white. Your hair may become thinner but it should not make you lose your hair completely.
You may notice changes in the colour of your skin which can become yellow in tone.
Other skin changes may include a rash, redness, dryness and itching. Tell your doctor or nurse if you notice any skin reactions as we may be able to give you creams and lotions to help.
Some people may feel sick whilst taking pazopanib 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 pazopanib tablets and contact Velindre Cancer Centre for advice. The telephone number is the end of the leaflet.
You may have diarrhoea with this treatment. If this occurs it is important that you drink plenty of fluids. Medication is available 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 number is the end of the leaflet.
Tiredness and fatigue
Pazopanib 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.
Your mouth may become sore or you may notice small ulcers. Your doctor may prescribe mouthwashes or medication to help with this.
Some people find that their mouth is too sensitive for regular toothpaste. If this happens try using mild children’s toothpaste.
If your mouth becomes very painful, or you are finding it difficult to eat and drink, you should stop taking your pazopanib tablets and contact Velindre Cancer Centre for advice. The telephone number is the end of the leaflet.
Soreness to your hands and feet
You may experience mild pain, redness, swelling and blistering of your hands or feet. Moisturising creams can help if this develops.
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.
Other side effects
Very rarely some people having pazopanib may experience heart problems such as chest pain or palpitations. If you have a heart condition or you are taking any heart medication, please tell your doctor before you start your treatment.
Pazopanib may make your thyroid work less effectively which may make you feel very tired. We will check how well your thyroid is working during your treatment.
There is a small risk that pazopanib will reduce your body’s ability to fight infection. If you develop a high temperature or any signs of infection please ring your GP.
Pazopanib 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 number is the end of the leaflet.
Rarely patients can develop a condition called Encephalopathy. Symptoms present with headache, lethargy, confusion, visual disturbances or it can affect the nervous system. Sometimes patients can experience a seizure. This can be fatal if not managed. Inform the treatment helpline if you experience any of these symptoms. The telephone number is the end of the leaflet.
Another rare condition is inflammation of the lungs (pneumonitis). If you experience shortness of breath, cough or difficulty breathing telephone the treatment helpline. The telephone number is the end of the leaflet.
It is important you do not become pregnant or father a child whilst having this treatment as it could damage the unborn baby.
Is it alright to take other medicines with pazopanib?
If you are taking other medicines, vitamins or herbal remedies please let your doctor, nurse or pharmacist know. There are a small number of medicines that you may have to avoid.
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.
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
Contact telephone numbers
Velindre Cancer Centre 029 2061 5888
Ask for the treatment helpline if you are unwell at home and need immediate advice at any time of the day or night. For example you should phone if you:
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
This information is also available in Welsh
This leaflet was written by health professionals. The information contained in this leaflet is evidence based. It has been approved by a team of doctors, nurses and patients. It is reviewed and updated every 2 years.