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SUTENT Side Effects

Cancer medications such as SUTENT are associated with significant side effects. For example, many people taking SUTENT experience reactions such as diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, and mouth sores. Although not as common, serious problems may also occur, including allergic reactions, yellowing of the skin, or an irregular heartbeat. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you develop any of these symptoms.

An Introduction to SUTENT Side Effects

Just like any cancer medicine, SUTENT® (sunitinib) can cause side effects, some of which can be significant. Although not everyone who takes the medication will have problems, most people will experience some type of reaction during SUTENT treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways you can manage some of the more bothersome side effects.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with SUTENT. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)

Common Side Effects With SUTENT

SUTENT has been studied extensively in clinical trials. In these studies, the side effects that occurred in a group of people taking the drug were carefully documented and compared to those that occurred in a similar group of people taking a placebo (a "sugar pill" with no active ingredients) or a different medication. As a result, it was possible to see what side effects occurred, how often they appeared, and how they compared to the placebo or the other medicine.
In these studies, the most common SUTENT side effects included:
  • Diarrhea -- in up to 66 percent of people
  • Fatigue -- up to 62 percent
  • Nausea -- up to 58 percent
  • Mouth sores, inflammation, or pain -- up to 48 percent (see Mouth and Gum Problems During Chemotherapy)
  • Loss of appetite -- up to 48 percent
  • Changes in taste -- up to 47 percent
  • Vomiting -- up to 39 percent
  • Abdominal pain (stomach pain) -- up to 39 percent
  • Bleeding events, including nosebleed or abnormal bleeding -- up to 37 percent
  • Heartburn or indigestion -- up to 34 percent
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) -- up to 34 percent
  • Loss of energy or strength -- up to 34 percent.
Other common reactions, occurring in 10 to 30 percent of people, included:
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SUTENT Medication Information

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