Why is it prescribed?

Ceritinib is used to treat adult patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive locally advanced (a cancer that cannot be surgically removed for cure) or metastatic (a cancer that has spread to other parts of the body) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). 

Products that have this ingredient include •Zykadia® •

See other drugs used in the treatment of •non-small cell lung cancer •

More common side effects: 

  • Diarrhea
  • Hemoglobin decreased
  • Increase in liver enzymes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Increase in creatinine
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Glucose increased
  • Decrease in phosphate
  • Decreased appetite

Less common side effects:

  • Constipation
  • Lipase increased
  • Esophageal disorder (Heart burn, dyspepsia, dysphagia)
  • Rash
  • Bilirubin (total) increased

Contact your health care provider immediately, day or night, if you should experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.4° F (38° or higher, chills)
  • Sudden onset of shortness of breath, chest pain, accompanied by cough (with or without mucus)

The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not an emergency:

  • Diarrhea (4-6 episodes in a 24-hour period)
  • Nausea (interferes with ability to eat and unrelieved with prescribed medication).
  • Vomiting (vomiting more than 4-5 times in a 24 hour period)
  • Unable to eat or drink for 24 hours or have signs of dehydration: tiredness, thirst, dry mouth, dark and decrease amount of urine, or dizziness
  • Skin or the whites of your eyes turn yellow
  • Itchy skin
  • Urine turns dark or brown (tea color)
  • Decreased appetite
  • Pain on the right side of your stomach
  • Bleed or bruise more easily than normal
  • Itching
  • Cough with or without mucus
  • Fast or abnormal heartbeats, dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Increase in blood sugar, increased thirst, increased hunger, headaches, trouble thinking or concentrating, increased urination, blurred vision, tiredness or breath that smells like fruit

 Ceritinib is a targeted therapy for cancer. It targets and binds to the tyrosine kinase receptors and inhibits anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK).  Some types of non-small cell lung cancer are caused by a defect in ALK and therefore, ceritinib may slow down the growth and spread of this type of cancer.


Do not use ceritinib if you:

  • are allergic to ceritinib, or any other ingredients in the formulation .
  • have a heart disorder called congenital long QT syndrome.

Use ceritinib with caution if you:

  • have/had problems with your liver.
  • have/had diabetes or high blood sugar.
  • have/had problems with your lungs or problems breathing.
  • have/had problems with your heart, including a condition called long QT syndrome.
  • have/had problems with your pancreas.
  • have a history of fainting.
  • have a family history of sudden cardiac death at less than 50 years of age.
  • have electrolyte disturbances such as hypokalemia (low potassium in the blood), hypomagnesemia (low magnesium in the blood) or hypocalcemia (low calcium in the blood) or suffer from excessive vomiting or an eating disorder.

Drug interactions: Check with your physician or pharmacist if you are on:

  • Anti-arrhythmics: quinidine, amiodarone, disopyramide, procainamide, sotalol, ibutilide, dronedarone, flecainide, propafenone;
  • Medicines used to stabilize thinking and behaviour, such as chlorpromazine, droperidol, haloperidol, ziprasidone;
  • Antidepressants (e.g. amitriptyline, imipramine, maprotiline, nefazodone)
  • Pentamidine;
  • Medicines used to treat malaria such as quinine, chloroquine
  • Medicines used to treat AIDS/HIV such as ritonavir or saquinavir
  • Antifungals like ketoconazole, itraconazole, fluconazole, voriconazole or posaconazole 
  • Antibiotics like azithromycin, moxifloxacin, levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, clarithromycin, telithromycin, tacrolimus;
  • Medicines that decrease electrolyte levels  such as water pills or laxatives
  • Methadone
  • Ondansetron, domperidone;
  • Other cancer medicines such as vorinostat, sunitinib, nilotinib, lapatinib, and vandetanib
  • Formoterol and salmeterol
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Anti-epileptics such as phenytoin, carbamazepine, or phenobarbital
  • Rifampin or rifabutin
  • Midazolam
  • Warfarin
  • Diclofenac
  • Ciclosporin, tacrolimus and sirolimus
  • Ergotamine
  • Medicines used to treat heartburn and indigestion such as antacids and H2 blockers
  • Alfentanil and fentanyl

Safety in pregnancy: Ceritinib may cause harm to the fetus.  Both men and women must use birth control during treatment and for 3 months after stopping ceritinib.

Safety in breastfeeding: No human data available.  Consult with physician/pharmacist before use. 


Page Last Updated: 25/11/2015