Crizotinib treats a certain type of lung cancer. It can cause nausea and diarrhea. Swallow capsules whole. Do not touch or handle crushed or broken crizotinib capsules.

Crizotinib Overview


Crizotinib is a prescription medication used to treat non-small cell lung cancer. Crizotinib belongs to a group of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors which work by blocking the action of a specific enzyme necessary for cancer cells to grow.

This medication comes in capsule form and is taken twice daily, with or without food. Swallow crizotinib capsules whole.

Common side effects of crizotinib include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Crizotinib Genetic Information

Lung cancer is cancer that forms in the cells of the lungs. Some patients have ALK-positive lung cancer. ALK is a protein that is involved in the division of cells, including cancer cells. Some patients have a change (or mutation) in the ALK protein that causes cancer cells to divide more rapidly.

ALK testing is done to see whether treatment with crizotinib is likely to be effective. If testing is not done, treatment with crizotinib is not likely to be effective.

Crizotinib is approved for the treatment of ALK-positive metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). It is specifically designed to target the ALK protein. By binding to the ALK protein, crizotinib prevents the growth of cancer cells.

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Crizotinib Cautionary Labels


Uses of Crizotinib

Crizotinib is a prescription medicine used to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has spread to other parts of the body and is caused by a defect in either gene called ALK (anaplastic lymphoma kinase) or a gene called ROS1.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Crizotinib Brand Names

Crizotinib may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Crizotinib Drug Class

Crizotinib is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Crizotinib

The most common side effects of crizotinib include:

  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • swelling of your hands and feet
  • constipation

Vision problems may occur -usually within 2 weeks of starting crizotinib. Tell your doctor right away if you have any change in vision, such as:

  • flashes of light
  • blurred vision
  • light hurting your eyes
  • new or increased floaters

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

Crizotinib may cause serious side effects. See the "Crizotinib Precautions" section.

These are not all of the possible side effects of crizotinib. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.



Crizotinib Interactions

Tell your doctor about the medicines you take, including prescription medicines, nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
  • Medicines for:
    • depression (antidepressants)
    • fungal infections (antifungals)
    • bacterial infections (antibiotics)
    • tuberculosis (TB)
    • HIV-AIDS
    • heart conditions
    • seizures

Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them to show your doctor or pharmacist when you get a new medicine.

Crizotinib Precautions

This medication may cause serious side effects including:

  • liver problems. Tell your doctor right away if you have:
    • yellowing of skin/eyes
    • fatigue
    • pain in upper-right area of the stomach
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • dark urine
  • lung inflammation (pneumonitis) that can be life-threatening. Call your doctor right away if you have new or worsened breathing difficulties.
  • changes in your vision, dizziness, and tiredness. If you have these symptoms, use caution when driving a car, using machinery, or doing anything that needs you to be alert.
  • changes in your heartbeat (called QT interval prolongation), very fast or abnormal heartbeats. Your doctor may check your heart during treatment with crizotinib. Tell your doctor right away if you have abnormal heartbeats, feel dizzy, or faint. These may be symptoms related to QT interval prolongation.This is a potentially life-threatening heart rhythm problem.
  • harm to your unborn baby. Females who are able to become pregnant should use effective birth control during treatment with crizotinib and for at least 45 days after the final dose of crizotinib.

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

Do not take this medicine if you are allergic to any of its ingredients.

Crizotinib Food Interactions

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with crizotinib and lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor.

Inform MD

Before you take crizotinib, tell your doctor if you:

  • have heart problems, including a condition called long QT syndrome
  • have liver or kidney problems
  • have any other medical conditions
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding

Tell your doctor about the medicines you take, including prescription medicines, nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.


Crizotinib and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant. Crizotinib may harm your unborn baby.

Women who are able to become pregnant and men who take crizotinib should use birth control during treatment and for 3 months after stopping crizotinib.

Males who have female partners who can become pregnant should use condoms during treatment with crizotinib and for at least 90 days after the final dose of crizotinib.

    • Talk to your doctor about the birth control methods that may be right for you.
    • If you or your partner becomes pregnant, tell your doctor right away.

    Crizotinib and Lactation

    Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if crizotinib passes into your breast milk or if it will harm your nursing baby.

    Do not breastfeed during treatment with crizotinib and for 45 days after the final dose. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby during this time.

    Crizotinib Usage

    • Take crizotinib exactly as your doctor tells you.
    • Swallow crizotinib capsules whole.
    • Do not crush, dissolve, or open capsules.
    • You may take crizotinib with or without food.
    • Do not change your dose or stop crizotinib unless your doctor tells you.
    • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is close to your next dose (within 6 hours), just take your next dose at your regular time.
    • Do not take more than 1 dose of crizotinib at a time.
    • Call your doctor right away if you take too much crizotinib.
    • Your doctor will check your blood and heart while you are taking crizotinib.

    Crizotinib Dosage

    Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.

    The dose your doctor recommends may be based on the following:

    • the condition being treated
    • other medical conditions you have
    • other medications you are taking
    • how you respond to this medication
    • your weight
    • your height
    • your age
    • your gender

    The recommended dose and schedule of crizotinib is 250 mg taken orally twice daily. Continue treatment as long as the patient is deriving clinical benefit from therapy. Crizotinib may be taken with or without food. Swallow capsules whole. If a dose of crizotinib is missed, make up that dose unless the next dose is due within 6 hours.

    The dose will be lowered if you have renal impairment. 

    Crizotinib Overdose

    If you take too much crizotinib call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

    If crizotinib is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.

    Other Requirements

    • Store crizotinib at room temperature between 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C).
    • Keep crizotinib in the original container, and keep the container closed tightly.
    • Do not touch or handle crushed or broken crizotinib capsules. Crizotinib is made with a capsule to prevent contact with the active ingredient.
    • Keep crizotinib and all medicines out of the reach of children.