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What is vorinostat?

Vorinostat (also called Zolinza®, or SAHA) is an anti-cancer medicine. Vorinostat is taken by mouth. It is available as a 100 mg capsule and a liquid that can be taken by mouth.

How to take vorinostat

  • Read the directions on the bottle carefully to make sure you take this medicine correctly.
  • Take vorinostat with food. Drink plenty of fluids unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.
  • Swallow the capsules whole. Do not open, crush or chew capsules.

Possible side effects of vorinostat


  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Changes in taste
  • Headache
  • Increased blood sugar levels
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Low blood counts with higher chance for bleeding and anemia
  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased appetite


  • Blood clots
  • Swelling of extremities
  • Changes in kidney function

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

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 vorinostat

  • Because vorinostat may cause birth defects, do not take this medicine if you are pregnant. Both men and women who are taking vorinostat should use effective birth control methods.
  • It is not known whether vorinostat passes into breast milk. This medicine might cause serious harm to a nursing infant. Women who are taking vorinostat should not breast-feed a baby.
  • Vorinostat capsules should be stored at room temperature and kept dry.
  • If the liquid form is used, each dose will be measured in advance by the pharmacy and put in an oral syringe. Each oral syringe holds one (1) dose.
  • Store the liquid medicine at room temperature. Do not use after the expiration date printed on the label.
  • Keep this and all medicine out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Other medicine may affect the way vorinostat 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.
  • If you miss a dose, follow these guidelines:
    • Take the missed dose right away unless it is almost time for the next dose.
    • If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your regular schedule. Remember to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you skip a dose.
    • Never take a double dose or extra doses.

Safe handling of vorinostat

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).