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What is crizotinib?

Crizotinib (also called Xalkori™) is an anti-cancer medicine. Crizotinib is taken by mouth. It is available as a 200 mg and 250 mg capsule and a liquid that can be taken by mouth.

How to take crizotinib

  • Read the directions on the bottle carefully to make sure you take this medicine correctly.
  • Swallow the capsule whole. Do not open, crush, or chew the capsule.
  • Crizotinib can be taken with or without food.

Possible side effects of crizotinib

  • Swelling in arms or legs
  • Feeling dizzy, faint, or lightheaded
  • Blurred vision or vision changes
  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Nausea, constipation, diarrhea
  • Changes in taste

These are the most common side effects, but there may be others. Please report all side effects to the doctor or nurse.

  • Tell your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms:
    • Infection
    • Trouble breathing
    • Chest pain or increased heart beat
    • Fainting
    • Discolored urine
    • Yellowing of the skin
    • Loss of strength
    • Burning or prickling sensation on skin
    • Rash
    • Swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat

In case of a severe side effect or reaction, call the doctor, nurse, or pharmacist at 901-595-3300. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833), and press 0 once the call is connected.

Special instructions for crizotinib

  • Crizotinib may cause birth defects. Do not take this medicine if you are pregnant. Both men and women should use effective birth control methods while taking crizotinib and for 3 months after you stop taking crizotinib.
  • It is not known if crizotinib passes into breast milk. This medicine might cause serious harm to a nursing baby. Women who are taking crizotinib should not breast-feed a baby.
  • If you miss a dose, follow these instructions:
    • If the next dose is due in 6 hours or less, skip the missed dose. Take the next dose at the normal time.
    • If the next dose is due in 6 hours or more, take the missed dose. Take the next dose at the normal time.
    • Remember to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you skip a dose
    • Never take a double dose or an extra dose
  • Crizotinib capsules should be stored at room temperature and kept dry.
  • Crizotinib oral liquid should be stored at room temperature. Shake well before taking a dose. Do not use past the expiration date on the bottle.
  • Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Other medicine may affect the way crizotinib works. Always give a complete list of medicines you are taking to your doctor or pharmacist. Check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new vitamins, herbals, or other medicine.
  • Avoid grapefruit, grapefruit juice, and St. John’s wort.

Safe handling of crizotinib

All chemotherapy drugs taken by mouth can pose a health hazard to caregivers and patients. You should be careful when handling this medicine and try to keep the drug from touching the skin. Taking precautions will ensure that both the patient and the caregiver are protected as well as possible.

  • Prepare a clean area where the drug can be handled safely (away from areas where food is prepared, out of the reach of children, and out from under any air vents or fans).
  • We suggest you or the caregiver wear gloves while handling this medicine. Wash your hands right away if your skin comes in contact with the medicine.
  • Completely clean up any spills in the area where the medicine is prepared.
  • For the liquid, St. Jude will provide enough oral syringes for each dose. Use each oral syringe only one (1) time, and then discard it in the trash. Do not try to wash and reuse the syringes.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).