Zykadia (ceritinib)

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

Zykadia®  (ceritinib) 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 a gene called anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK), 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 Zykadia?

The active ingredient in Zykadia is ceritinib.1

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How does Zykadia work?

Zykadia 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, Zykadia may shrink the cancer or slow the cancer’s progression.1,2

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects of Zykadia include:1

  • Stomach and intestinal (gastrointestinal) problems
  • Tiredness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss

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

Other things to know

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

Limit time in the sun during and after treatment with Zykadia. Zykadia 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
  • Diabetes or high blood sugar
  • Heart problems, including a condition called long QT syndrome
  • Current or previous pancreatitis

Zykadia 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 Zykadia. You should also not breastfeed during treatment with Zykadia and for some time after the last dose. Talk to your doctor about your options for birth control and breastfeeding while taking Zykadia.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 Zykadia.