Treatment Name: Everolimus (Afinitor®)
How does everolimus work?
Everolimus is designed to slow the growth of cancer cells by inhibiting several mechanisms that the cell uses to grow and survive.
Goals of therapy:
Everolimus is given to shrink tumors and alleviate symptoms of renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Everolimus is not commonly given with the goal of cure.
- Usual starting dose: Everolimus 10 mg oral capsule by mouth daily
Everolimus is usually taken at home. Typically, therapy with everolimus is continued until the drug no longer works or unacceptable toxicity is experienced.
In clinical studies, the most commonly reported side effects with everolimus are shown here. Side effects sometimes have percentage ranges (example 40 – 53%) because they differed between in clinical studies:
- High blood cholesterol (76%)
- High blood triglycerides (71%)
- Mouth sores (40 - 53%)
- Anemia [low red blood cells] (28 - 91%)
- Fluid in legs (28%)
- Low white blood cells (26%)
- Rash (25 - 37%)
- Weight loss (21%)
- Fatigue (20 - 45%)
- Increased bleeding risk [low platelets] (20%)
- Headache (19%)
- Constipation (19%)
- Muscle weakness (18 - 21%)
- Diarrhea (17 - 38%)
- High blood sugar (16 - 50%)
- Loss of appetite (16 - 29%)
- Nausea (15 - 34%)
- Cough (12 - 38%)
- Vomiting (12 - 21%)
- Dry skin (11%)
- Infections (10%)
- Lung toxicity (8%)
- Trouble breathing (8 - 25%)
Approximately 10% of patients discontinue everolimus due to unacceptable side effects
How often monitoring needed?
Labs (blood tests) may be checked before treatment and every 14 days for the first 3 months, then every month thereafter. Labs often include: Complete Blood Count (CBC), Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP), blood cholesterol, blood triglycerides, plus any others your doctor may order
How often is imaging needed?
Imaging may be checked before treatment and every 8 weeks during treatment. Imaging may include: computerized tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and bone scans
How might blood test results/imaging affect treatment?
Depending upon the results, your doctor may advise to continue everolimus as planned, or delay or switch therapy
- Everolimus can possibly impair your body’s ability to heal various wounds. Talk to your oncologist about any planned surgeries and let your surgeon know that you are receiving everolimus
- A pharmacist should ALWAYS review your medication list to ensure that drug interactions are prevented or managed appropriately
- Clinical trials may exist for renal cell carcinoma. Ask your doctor if any studies are currently enrolling in your area. If not, go to clinicaltrials.gov to search for other centers offering study medications
Patient Assistance & Co-payment Coverage
Patients under the age of 65 years, or those with private insurance plans:
If you have insurance and are looking for patient assistance or copay assistance for Everolimus (Afinitor®), we have provided links that may help.
Visit our Patient Assistance page and click the links to various patient assistance programs for help paying for Everolimus (Afinitor®). Depending upon your income, they may be able to help cover the cost of:
For Branded medications (may be available for generic medications too), check with the manufacturer to determine if a co-pay card is offered and if it could reduce your monthly copay.
- If you are uninsured, check with the manufacturer to determine if you are eligible to receive medication at no cost.
Medicare and Medicaid patients (Patients 65 years or older):
The clinic providing treatment will likely pre-authorize medications and immune therapies such as Everolimus (Afinitor®) and are the best source to help you understand drug cost.
- Ask to speak with a patient assistance technician or financial counselor at the clinic or hospital administering this therapy.
What is Emotional Wellness?
Emotional wellness is having a positive outlook balanced with a realistic understanding of current life events. This requires both an awareness and acceptance of your emotions. It is with this knowledge that you can develop a plan to take the necessary actions to positively impact your life.
Emotional wellness uses an ongoing process to continually reflect on the stressors of life in a constructive manner to move forward and create happiness.
Because emotional wellness is deeply connected with physical, social, and spiritual wellness, pursuing it often becomes particularly difficult in times of major illness. Despite this difficulty, working toward emotional wellness has been connected to improved treatment outcomes and a higher likelihood of achieving goals of therapy.
Learn more about pursuing emotional wellness while receiving treatment with Everolimus (Afinitor®)