Commonly Asked Questions About AFINITOR

 

TREATMENT WITH AFINITOR

Image: AfiniTRAC Patient Support Program

AfiniTRAC Patient Support Program

 

Get personalized patient and caregiver support, as well as guidance throughout the insurance process. Plus, learn about the AFINITOR Co-Pay Card Program.

 
 
 

Commonly Asked Questions About AFINITOR

Q:

What is the difference between AFINITOR and Rapamune?

A:

Everolimus and sirolimus are different medicines. The brand name of everolimus is AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ. Sirolimus is known by the brand name Rapamune® and is often referred to as rapamycin. Sirolimus is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of SEGA with TSC.

AFINITOR and AFINITOR DISPERZ are prescription medicines used to treat adults and children with a genetic condition called tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) who have a brain tumor called subependymal giant cell astrocytoma (SEGA) when the tumor cannot be removed completely by surgery.

Direct comparisons between Rapamune and AFINITOR cannot be made since there have not been any clinical studies comparing the two directly.

Q:

What should I avoid while taking AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ?

A:

You should not drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit during your treatment with AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ. It may make the amount of AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ in your blood increase to a harmful level.

Q:

Are there any other medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration for SEGA with TSC?

A:

No. AFINITOR and AFINITOR DISPERZ are the first and only prescription medicines approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat adults and children with a genetic condition called tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) who have a brain tumor called subependymal giant cell astrocytoma (SEGA) when the tumor cannot be removed completely by surgery.

Q:

Are there any resources that can provide treatment or reimbursement support for me or my loved one?

A:

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation has made a commitment to help those in need access our medicines. Learn more about the reimbursement support available to people who have SEGA with TSC and are taking AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ.

You may be eligible for co-pay savings on your next prescription. Most commercially insured patients pay no more than $25 per month. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation will pay the remaining co-pay or coinsurance up to an annual maximum of $15,000 per calendar year. Limitations apply. This offer is not valid under Medicare, Medicaid, or any other federal or state program. Novartis reserves the right to rescind, revoke, or amend this program without notice. To learn more about the program's terms and conditions, call 1-877-577-7756.

Q:

What other medications should a patient avoid when taking AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ?

A:

Tell your health care provider about all of the medicines you or your loved one take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines can affect how AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ works. Using AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ with other medicines can cause serious side effects.

Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them and show it to your health care provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine. Especially tell your health care provider if you take:

  • St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)
  • Medicines for:
    • Fungal infections
    • Bacterial infections
    • Tuberculosis
    • Seizures
    • HIV-AIDS
    • Heart conditions or high blood pressure
  • Medicines that weaken your immune system (your body’s ability to fight infections and other problems)

Ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you are not sure if your medicine is one of those taken for the conditions listed above. If you are taking any medicines for the conditions listed above, your health care provider might need to prescribe a different medicine or your dose of AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ may need to be changed. You should also tell your health care provider before you start taking any new medicine.

Q:

What is the difference between AFINITOR and AFINITOR DISPERZ?

A:

AFINITOR is swallowed whole with a glass of water. AFINITOR DISPERZ tablets for oral suspension is taken as a suspension only, mixed with water, and taken by mouth. These two formulations should not be combined. Use one or the other.

Q:

What should I tell my health care provider before taking AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ?

A:

Before taking AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ, tell your health care provider about all your medical conditions, including if you:

  • Have or have had kidney problems
  • Have or have had liver problems
  • Have diabetes or high blood sugar
  • Have high blood cholesterol levels
  • Have any infections
  • Previously had hepatitis B
  • Are scheduled to receive any vaccinations. You should not receive a live vaccine or be around people who have recently received a live vaccine during your treatment with AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ. If you are not sure about the type of immunization or vaccine, ask your health care provider
  • Have other medical conditions
  • Are pregnant or could become pregnant. AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ can cause harm to your unborn baby. If you are able to become pregnant, you should use effective birth control while using AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ and for 8 weeks after your last dose. Talk to your health care provider about birth control options while taking AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ
  • Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed during treatment and for 2 weeks after your last dose
 

SEGA With TSC

AFINITOR® (everolimus) Tablets and AFINITOR DISPERZTM (everolimus tablets for oral suspension) are prescription medicines used to treat adults and children with a genetic condition called tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) who have a brain tumor called subependymal giant cell astrocytoma (SEGA) when the tumor cannot be removed completely by surgery.

Important Safety Information

AFINITOR can cause serious side effects, including lung or breathing problems, infections, and kidney failure, which can lead to death. Patients who take an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor medicine during treatment with AFINITOR are at a possible increased risk for a type of allergic reaction called angioedema. AFINITOR can cause incisions to heal slowly or not heal well. Mouth ulcers and mouth sores are common side effects, occurring in up to 78% of patients taking AFINITOR. AFINITOR can affect blood cell counts, kidney and liver function, and blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Regular blood tests should be performed before starting AFINITOR and as needed during treatment to check blood cell count, kidney and liver function, blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and how much AFINITOR is in the blood.

Please see additional Important Safety Information.

Please see full Prescribing Information for AFINITOR, including Patient Information.

 
 

Important Safety Information

Patients should not take AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ if they are allergic to AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ or to any of its ingredients. Patients should tell their health care provider before taking AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ if they are allergic to sirolimus (Rapamune®) or temsirolimus (Torisel®).

AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ can cause serious side effects that can even lead to death. If patients experience these side effects, they may need to stop taking AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ for a while or use a lower dose. Patients should follow their health care provider's instructions. Serious side effects include:

Lung or Breathing Problems: In some patients, lung or breathing problems may be severe and can even lead to death. Patients should tell their health care provider right away if they have any of these symptoms: new or worsening cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, difficulty breathing, or wheezing.

Infections: AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ may make patients more likely to develop an infection, such as pneumonia, or a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection. Viral infections may include reactivation of hepatitis B in people who have had hepatitis B in the past. In some people these infections may be severe and can even lead to death. Patients may need to be treated as soon as possible. Patients should tell their health care provider right away if they have a temperature of 100.5°F or above, chills, or do not feel well. Symptoms of hepatitis B or infection may include the following: fever, chills, skin rash, joint pain and inflammation, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, pale stools or dark urine, yellowing of the skin, or pain in the upper right side of the stomach.

Angioedema: Patients who take an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor medicine during treatment with AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ are at a possible increased risk for a type of allergic reaction called angioedema. Talk with your health care provider before taking AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ if you are not sure if you take an ACE inhibitor medicine. Get medical help right away if you have trouble breathing or develop swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat during treatment with AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ.

Kidney Failure: Patients taking AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ may develop kidney failure. In some people this may be severe and can even lead to death. Patients should have tests to check their kidney function before and during their treatment with AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ.

Delayed Wound Healing: AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ can cause incisions to heal slowly or not heal well. Call your health care provider right away if your incision is red, warm, or painful; if you have blood, fluid, or pus in your incision; if your incision opens up; or if your incision swells.

Before taking AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ, tell your health care provider about all your medical conditions, including if you:

Tell your health care provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Using AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ with certain other medicines can cause serious side effects. Keep a list of medicines you take and show it to your health care provider when you get a new medicine. Especially tell your health care provider if you take St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum), medicines that weaken your immune system (your body's ability to fight infections and other problems), or medicines for:

  • Fungal infections
  • Bacterial infections
  • Tuberculosis
  • Seizures
  • HIV-AIDS
  • Heart conditions or high blood pressure
 

If you are taking any medicines for the conditions listed above, your health care provider might need to prescribe a different medicine or your dose of AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ may need to be changed. Tell your health care provider before you start taking any new medicine.

Common Side Effects: Common side effects include mouth ulcers. AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ can cause mouth ulcers and sores. Tell your health care provider if you have pain, discomfort, or open sores in your mouth. Your health care provider may tell you to use a special mouthwash or gel that does not contain alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, or thyme.

Other common side effects include:

  • Infections
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea and constipation
  • Swelling of your hands, arms, legs, and feet
  • Joint pain
  • Cough
  • Skin problems (such as rash, acne, or dry skin)
  • Fever
  • Feeling tired
  • Anxiety, aggression, and other abnormal behaviors
  • Absence of menstrual periods (menstruation). You may miss one or more menstrual periods. Tell your health care provider if this happens
  • Low red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets
  • Increased blood cholesterol level and certain other blood levels
  • Increased blood sugar levels
  • Decreased blood phosphate level
 

Tell your health care provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away.

These are not all the possible side effects of AFINITOR or AFINITOR DISPERZ. For more information, ask your health care provider or pharmacist. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Please see full Prescribing Information for AFINITOR, including Patient Information.

The brands listed are the trademarks or register marks of their respective owners and are not trademarks or register marks of Novartis.

Indication

AFINITOR and AFINITOR DISPERZ are prescription medicines used to treat adults and children with a genetic condition called tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) who have a brain tumor called subependymal giant cell astrocytoma (SEGA) when the tumor cannot be removed completely by surgery.

Click here to learn more