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This medication is used to treat a certain type of cancer (chronic lymphocytic leukemia-CLL). Venetoclax is a chemotherapy drug that works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking venetoclax and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
To help prevent side effects, drink 6 to 8 glasses (about 56 ounces/1660 milliliters) of water each day, starting 2 days before your first dose, on the day of your first dose, and each time your dose is increased. Take this medication by mouth with a meal and water as directed by your doctor, usually once daily. Swallow the tablets whole. Do not chew, crush, or break the tablets before swallowing.
If you vomit soon after taking a dose, do not take another dose on the same day. Take your next dose at the regular time.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.
Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often or for longer than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and your risk of serious side effects will increase.
Avoid eating/drinking grapefruit products, Seville oranges (often found in marmalade), or starfruit while using this medication unless your doctor or pharmacist says you may do so safely. These can increase the chance of side effects with this medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, tiredness, or headache may occur. Nausea and vomiting can be severe. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Eating several small meals, not eating before treatment, or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
People using this medication may have serious side effects. However, your doctor has prescribed this drug because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Careful monitoring by your doctor may decrease your risk.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, such as: easy bruising/bleeding.
This medication may lower your ability to fight infections. This may make you more likely to get a serious (rarely fatal) infection or make any infection you have worse. Tell your doctor right away if you have any signs of infection (such as a sore throat that doesn't go away, fever, chills, cough).
Venetoclax sometimes causes side effects due to the rapid destruction of cancer cells (tumor lysis syndrome). To lower your risk, your doctor may add a medication and tell you to drink plenty of fluids. Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms such as: low back/side pain (flank pain), signs of kidney problems (such as painful urination, pink/bloody urine, change in the amount of urine), muscle spasms/weakness.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
Before taking venetoclax, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: current/recent/returning infection.
Venetoclax can make you more likely to get infections or may worsen any current infections. Avoid contact with people who have infections that may spread to others (such as chickenpox, measles, flu). Consult your doctor if you have been exposed to an infection or for more details.
Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor. Avoid contact with people who have recently received live vaccines (such as flu vaccine inhaled through the nose).
To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not become pregnant while using venetoclax. Venetoclax may harm an unborn baby. Ask about reliable forms of birth control while using this medication and for at least 30 days after stopping treatment. If you become pregnant, talk to your doctor right away about its risks and benefits.
It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
See also How to Use section.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Other medications can affect the removal of venetoclax from your body, which may affect how venetoclax works. Examples include azole antifungals (such as itraconazole, ketoconazole), HIV protease inhibitors (such as atazanavir, ritonavir, saquinavir) macrolide antibiotics (such as clarithromycin, erythromycin), rifamycins (such as rifampin, rifabutin), St. John's wort, drugs used to treat seizures (such as carbamazepine, phenytoin), among others.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
If you miss a dose and it has been less than 8 hours, take it as soon as you remember. If you miss a dose and it has been more than 8 hours, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Do not share this medication with others.
Lab and/or medical tests (such as pregnancy test, kidney function, blood chemistry such as potassium, uric acid, phosphorus, calcium) should be done before you start taking this medication and while you are taking it. Keep all medical and lab appointments.