Xalkori (crizotinib)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: September 2023

Xalkori® (crizotinib) is a targeted therapy that is used to treat adults with non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) that:1

  • Is caused by a defect in either a gene called anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) or ROS1, and
  • Has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic)

About 5 percent of all lung cancers are ALK-positive. People who develop ALK-positive lung cancer are often younger and have a history of light or no smoking.2

What are the ingredients in Xalkori?

The active ingredient in Xalkori is crizotinib.1

How does Xalkori work?

Xalkori works by blocking the activating sites (tyrosine kinases) of several proteins within cancer cells. These proteins can stimulate cancer growth when the tumor has an ALK mutation. By blocking the proteins, Xalkori can slow or stop the growth of cancer cells.1,2

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects of Xalkori in people with NSCLC include:1

  • Vision problems
  • Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting
  • Swelling of your hands, feet, face, or eyes
  • Constipation
  • Increased liver function blood tests
  • Tiredness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness or tingling in your arms or legs

These are not all the possible side effects of Xalkori. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Xalkori. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Xalkori.

Other things to know

Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice during treatment with Xalkori. Grapefruit may make the amount of Xalkori. in your blood increase to a harmful level.1

Limit time in the sun during and after treatment with Xalkori. Xalkori may make your skin sensitive to sunlight. You may burn more easily and get severe sunburns. When in the sun, wear protective clothing and sunscreen to protect against sunburn.1

Before starting treatment with Zykadia, tell your doctor if you have:1

  • Liver problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Lung problems
  • Heart problems, including a condition called long QT syndrome
  • Vision or eye problems

Xalkori can harm an unborn baby. If you or your partner can become pregnant, you should use birth control during treatment and for some time after the last dose of Xalkori. You should also not breastfeed during treatment with Xalkori and for some time after the last dose. Talk to your doctor about your options for birth control and breastfeeding while taking Xalkori.1

Before beginning treatment for lung cancer, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Xalkori.

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