Vandetanib: Uses & Sides Effects

Vandetanib is used to treat thyroid cancer. Vandetanib is available only from a certified pharmacy under a special program.

How should I take vandetanib?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Take vandetanib with a full glass of water.

Vandetanib is usually taken once per day, with or without food.

Swallow the tablet whole and do not crush or chew it.

If you cannot swallow a tablet whole, place it into a glass with 2 ounces of water. Stir until the tablet is dispersed (it will not dissolve completely). Drink this mixture right away. Add 4 ounces more more water to the glass, swirl gently and drink right away.

The dispersed tablet mixture can also be given through a nasogastric (NG) or gastronomy feeding tube. Follow your doctor’s instructions.

Do not use a broken tablet. The medicine from a broken pill can be dangerous if it gets in your mouth, eyes, or nose, or on your skin. If this happens, wash your skin with soap and water or rinse your eyes with water. Ask your pharmacist how to safely dispose of a broken pill.

You will need blood tests and an electrocardiograph or ECG (sometimes called an EKG) every 2 weeks to 3 months. Your dose or medication schedule may be changed based on the results of these tests.

Do not stop taking vandetanib unless your doctor tells you to. If you stop for longer than 2 weeks for any reason, do not start taking vandetanib again without asking your doctor. You may need an ECG before you start taking the medicine again.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.


You should not use vandetanib if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

long QT syndrome (in you or a family member).

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • heart disease, high blood pressure, or a heart rhythm disorder;
  • low blood levels of calcium, magnesium, or potassium;
  • abnormal thyroid function tests;
  • a seizure;
  • breathing problems, cough with bloody mucus;
  • liver or kidney disease;
  • skin problems;
  • severe diarrhea.

You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before starting this treatment.

Do not use vandetanib if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine and for at least 4 months after your last dose. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.

Do not breast-feed while using this medicine, and for at least 4 months after your last dose.

Side Effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).

You may need to stop taking vandetanib permanently if you have a severe skin reaction.

Stop using vandetanib and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • fast or pounding heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, sudden dizziness (like you might pass out);
  • wheezing, dry cough, feeling short of breath;
  • severe or ongoing diarrhea;
  • unusual bruising or bleeding;
  • cough with bloody mucus, vomit that looks like coffee grounds;
  • swelling, rapid weight gain;
  • headache, confusion, change in mental status, seizure;
  • signs of a stroke–sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), sudden severe headache, trouble speaking or understanding what is said to you, problems with vision or balance;
  • thyroid symptoms–extreme tiredness, dry skin, joint pain or stiffness, muscle pain or weakness, hoarse voice, feeling more sensitive to cold temperatures, weight gain;
  • dangerously high blood pressure–severe headache, pounding in your neck or ears, anxiety, irregular heartbeats.

Common side effects may include:

  • high blood pressure;
  • diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, loss of appetite;
  • headache, tiredness;
  • acne, skin rash;
  • cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat.


Vandetanib can cause a serious heart problem. Your risk may be higher if you also use certain other medicines for infections, asthma, heart problems, high blood pressure, depression, mental illness, cancer, malaria, or HIV.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Keyword: vandetanib.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.