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People with a rare type of thyroid cancer may require treatment with Caprelsa, a medication reserved for cases in which the cancer has spread beyond the thyroid or cannot be treated with surgery. This drug comes in tablet form and is taken once a day. It works by blocking the action of a protein responsible for the growth and division of cancer cells.

What Is Caprelsa?

Caprelsa® (vandetanib) is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of a rare type of thyroid cancer known as medullary thyroid cancer. It is used in people whose cancer has spread beyond the thyroid to other areas of the body or cannot be treated with surgery.
(Click Caprelsa Uses for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes This Medication?

Caprelsa is made by IPR Pharmaceuticals, Inc., for AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP.

How Does It Work?

Caprelsa belongs to a group of medications known as tyrosine kinase inhibitors. It works by blocking tyrosine kinase, a protein in the body responsible for the growth and division of cancer cells. By blocking tyrosine kinase, Caprelsa may slow down or stop the growth of cancer cells, which can slow down how quickly the disease progresses.

When and How to Take Caprelsa

Some general considerations to keep in mind during treatment with Caprelsa include the following:
  • This medication comes in tablet form. It is usually taken by mouth once a day.
  • You can take Caprelsa with or without food.
  • Swallow Caprelsa tablets whole. Do not crush, chew, or cut them.
  • People who cannot swallow the tablets whole can mix them with two ounces (30 mL) of water, and drink the mixture after stirring for about 10 minutes. The tablets will distribute throughout the water, but will not dissolve completely. After drinking the mixture, rinse the glass with another four ounces of water and drink again to ensure you get your complete dose.
  • Try to take your dose at the same time each day to keep an even level of the drug in your bloodstream. Taking it at the same time may also help you remember to take the medicine.
  • For Caprelsa to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed.
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Caprelsa Medication Information

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