Verzenio

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Brand name: Verzenio

Chemical name: Abemaciclib

Class: Cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4/6 inhibitor. Ibrance and Kisqali are other CDK4/6 inhibitors used to treat breast cancer.

How it works: A kinase is a type of protein in the body that helps control cell division. Verzenio works by inhibiting the kinase and stopping cancer cells from dividing and growing.

Uses: Verzenio is used in combination with an aromatase inhibitor as the first hormonal therapy to treat advanced-stage or metastatic, hormone-receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Arimidex (chemical name: anastrozole), Aromasin (chemical name: exemestane), and Femara (chemical name: letrozole) are aromatase inhibitors.

Verzenio also is used in combination with Faslodex (chemical name: fulvestrant) to treat hormone-receptor-positive, HER2-negative metastatic or advanced-stage breast cancer if the cancer grew after hormonal therapy treatment. Premenopausal and perimenopausal women who take
Verzenio in combination with Faslodex also should take a medicine to
suppress ovarian function.

Verzenio is used alone to treat hormone-receptor-positive, HER2-negative metastatic or advanced-stage breast cancer if the cancer grew after hormonal therapy treatment and earlier chemotherapy for metastatic disease.

Verzenio is
used in combination with either tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor after
surgery to treat early-stage hormone-receptor-positive, HER2-positive,
node-positive breast cancer with a high risk of recurring (coming back) and a
Ki-67 score of 20% or higher.

How it’s given: Verzenio is a pill taken by mouth.

Side effects:

  • diarrhea
  • low white blood cell counts (neutropenia and leukopenia)
  • nausea
  • abdominal pain
  • infections
  • fatigue
  • low red blood cell counts (anemia)
  • decreased appetite
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • low platelet counts (thrombocytopenia)
  • severe lung inflammation
  • hair thinning or loss (alopecia)

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Reference

  1. Verzenio (abemaciclib) prescribing information. Eli Lilly and Company. Indianapolis, IN. 2018. Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2021/208716s006s007s008lbl.pdf (PDF)