If you have a certain kind of cancer, your doctor may prescribe Cabometyx for you. It’s a prescription drug that’s used in adults to treat:
- advanced renal cell cancer, a type of kidney cancer
- hepatocellular carcinoma, a kind of liver cancer
- differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC)
Cabometyx can also be used to treat DTC in children ages 12 years and older.
To learn more about the drug’s uses, see the “What is Cabometyx used for?” section below.
Cabometyx comes as a tablet that you swallow whole. You’ll take it either at least 1 hour before or at least 2 hours after you eat.
The active ingredient in Cabometyx is cabozantinib. The active ingredient is what makes a drug work.
Cabometyx is a brand-name drug. It’s not available in generic form. Cabometyx belongs to a group of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs).
Read on to learn more about Cabometyx’s side effects, costs, and more.
Like most drugs, Cabometyx may cause mild or serious side effects. The lists below describe some of the more common side effects that Cabometyx may cause. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.
Keep in mind that side effects of a drug can depend on:
- your age
- other health conditions you have
- other medications you take
Side effects of Cabometyx can vary depending on whether you’re also taking nivolumab (Opdivo). The two drugs are sometimes used together to treat renal cell cancer. To learn more, see the “What is Cabometyx used for?” section below.
Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the potential side effects of Cabometyx. They can also suggest ways to help reduce side effects.
Mild side effects
Here’s a short list of some of the mild side effects that Cabometyx can cause. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or read Cabometyx’s prescribing information.
Mild side effects of Cabometyx that have been reported include:
- fatigue (low energy)
- decreased appetite
- nausea and vomiting
- weight loss
- slow wound healing
- underactive thyroid
- mouth sores
- belly pain
- changes in the way things taste
- pain in bones, muscles, and joints
- upper respiratory infection, such as the common cold
Mild side effects of many drugs may go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. But if they become bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious side effects
Serious side effects from Cabometyx can occur, but they aren’t common. If you have serious side effects from Cabometyx, call your doctor right away. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, you should call 911 or your local emergency number.
Serious side effects of Cabometyx that have been reported include:
- high blood pressure*
- severe bleeding
- hole in the stomach or intestinal wall
- blood clots, which may cause heart attack or stroke
- chest pain
- rashes, blisters, or swelling on your hands or feet
- liver problems*
- kidney problems
- severe jawbone problems
- reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome (a condition that causes swelling in your brain)
- severe diarrhea*
- allergic reaction*
* For more information about this side effect, see the “Side effect focus” section below.
Side effect focus
Learn more about some of the side effects Cabometyx may cause.
Diarrhea is a common side effect of Cabometyx. With diarrhea, you might experience frequent loose stools. Other symptoms include cramping, nausea, and belly pain.
Diarrhea can be severe in some people taking Cabometyx. In studies of the drug, severe diarrhea was less common than mild diarrhea.
If your diarrhea is severe, you can become dehydrated by losing fluids too quickly. Severe diarrhea may need to be treated in the hospital.
What might help
If you experience diarrhea during your Cabometyx treatment, tell your doctor right away. They may reduce your dose of Cabometyx or pause your treatment until your diarrhea eases. They may also recommend medication such as loperamide (Imodium).
Drinking plenty of liquids, such as water or sports drinks, can help prevent dehydration due to diarrhea. Sip liquids slowly between meals if you have nausea.
You should also avoid or limit foods that can cause gas or may make your diarrhea worse. Examples include fried or fatty foods, spicy foods, beans, and raw fruits and vegetables.
High blood pressure
High blood pressure is a common side effect of Cabometyx. In rare cases, it may lead to hypertensive crisis, which is a sudden and severe increase in blood pressure.
Usually, high blood pressure doesn’t have any symptoms. But very high blood pressure or hypertensive crisis may have symptoms, such as:
- severe headache
- vision changes, such as blurry vision
- chest pain
- irregular heartbeat
- trouble breathing
What might help
During your Cabometyx treatment, you’ll have your blood pressure checked regularly. You can get your blood pressure tested at your doctor’s office or at most pharmacies. Your doctor can also explain how to check your blood pressure at home with a home blood pressure monitor.
If you’re diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe medications to treat it. In some cases, your doctor may also recommend diet and lifestyle changes (such as cutting back on caffeine or exercising more) to help lower your blood pressure.
Call your doctor or get emergency medical help right away if you experience symptoms of severe high blood pressure. If you experience a hypertensive crisis or your high blood pressure cannot be managed with medications, your doctor will likely have you stop your Cabometyx treatment. If your blood pressure can be managed, your doctor may recommend a lower dose of Cabometyx for you.
Symptoms of liver problems may include:
- jaundice (yellowing of the skin or the whites of your eyes)
- belly pain on the right side
- dark urine
- bruising or bleeding easier than normal
- severe nausea or vomiting
What might help
Before prescribing Cabometyx, your doctor will order a liver function test. You’ll continue to have these tests done regularly during your treatment to check for any liver problems.
If these tests show increased liver enzymes, it may be a sign that Cabometyx (or Opdivo, if you take it) is affecting your liver. If this occurs, your doctor may have you stop your treatment. They may also prescribe a steroid, such as dexamethasone, to reduce any inflammation (swelling) in your liver.
If your liver enzymes return to a healthy range, your doctor may have you restart your treatment. If your liver enzymes remain very high or you develop severe liver problems, such as liver failure, they’ll likely not have you restart the treatment. Instead, they’ll talk with you about other treatment options.
For some people, making certain lifestyle changes can also help keep your liver healthy. These might include:
- drinking more water
- limiting unhealthy fats and refined sugar
- managing your weight
- limiting alcohol
If you have concerns about your liver before or during your Cabometyx treatment, talk with your doctor.
Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:
A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet. They can also include swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat, which can cause trouble breathing.
Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Cabometyx. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.
Costs of prescription drugs can vary depending on many factors. These factors include what your insurance plan covers and which pharmacy you use.
If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also visit the Cabometyx manufacturer’s website to see if they have support options.
Or check out this article to learn more about saving money on prescriptions.
Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Cabometyx that’s right for you. Below is some information about Cabometyx dosing, but always take the dosage your doctor prescribes.
Form and strengths
Cabometyx comes in tablets that you swallow. They are available in three strengths: 20 milligrams (mg), 40 mg, and 60 mg.
Cabometyx dosing depends on several factors. Your doctor will recommend the dosage that’s right for you. You’ll take your dose of Cabometyx by mouth once daily.
Questions about Cabometyx’s dosage
Common questions about Cabometyx’s dosage are below.
- What if I miss a dose of Cabometyx? Take your missed dose as soon as you remember, as long as you have more than 12 hours until your next dose. If you’re scheduled to take your next dose within the next 12 hours, skip the missed dose. You should not take two doses of Cabometyx at once to make up for a missed dose. Doing so could raise your risk of side effects.
- Will I need to use Cabometyx long term? Yes, Cabometyx is used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Cabometyx is safe and effective for you, it’s likely that you’ll take it long term.
- How long does Cabometyx take to work? Cabometyx starts to work right after you take a dose. But it may take several weeks before your tumors become smaller or stop growing.
Find answers to some commonly asked questions about Cabometyx.
What is the life expectancy with Cabometyx treatment?
There’s not a specific life expectancy with Cabometyx treatment. It depends on several factors, including the type of cancer you’re using it to treat and other health conditions you may have.
Studies have shown that people taking Cabometyx lived longer than people taking certain other cancer drugs. You can learn more about life expectancy with Cabometyx from the manufacturer’s website or your doctor.
Does Cabometyx cause eye side effects?
No, Cabometyx doesn’t cause eye side effects. However, a severe reaction called reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome is possible. This condition causes your brain to swell, which can lead to eye problems, such as vision changes.
Other symptoms of reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome may include:
Vision changes can also be a symptom of high blood pressure, which Cabometyx can cause. (To learn more about high blood pressure with Cabometyx, see “Side effect focus” in the “What are Cabometyx’s side effects?” section above.)
If you experience changes in your vision or other serious side effects while taking Cabometyx, call your doctor right away.
How effective is Cabometyx?
Studies have found Cabometyx to be an effective treatment for certain types of advanced kidney cancer, liver cancer, and thyroid cancer. To learn more about the drug’s effectiveness, see the manufacturer’s website or talk with your doctor.
How does Cabometyx work?
Cabometyx works by blocking an enzyme in your body called tyrosine kinase. Cancer cells need the tyrosine kinase enzyme to grow and multiply.
When Cabometyx blocks this enzyme, it prevents cancer cells from growing. This helps prevent your cancer from getting worse. In some people, Cabometyx treatment may cause tumors to shrink.
Cabometyx and Cometriq are both prescription drugs that contain the same active ingredient, cabozantinib. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) But these drugs treat different conditions, and one drug can’t be substituted for the other.
To see a brief comparison of these medications, check out this article. Also, talk with your doctor about the treatment option that’s right for you.
Cabometyx is used to treat the following types of cancer:
- Advanced renal cell cancer (RCC). This is a kind of kidney cancer that has spread beyond the kidney. For this use, Cabometyx can be prescribed as a first treatment for RCC or after you’ve received other treatments. Your doctor may prescribe Cabometyx together with another drug called nivolumab (Opdivo).
- Hepatocellular carcinoma. This is a type of liver cancer. For this purpose, Cabometyx is used in adults who have previously taken sorafenib (Nexavar).
- Differentiated thyroid cancer. This is a kind of cancer that affects your thyroid gland. For this condition, Cabometyx is used in adults and in children ages 12 years and older whose cancer:
- has spread to other areas of the body
- can’t be treated with radioactive iodine therapy
- has progressed after certain other thyroid cancer treatments
Some important things to discuss with your doctor when considering treatment with Cabometyx include your overall health, the other medications or supplements you take, and any medical conditions you may have.
Taking a medication with certain vaccines, foods, and other things can affect how the medication works. These effects are called interactions.
Before taking Cabometyx, be sure to tell your doctor about all medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter types. Also describe any vitamins, herbs, or supplements you use. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you about any interactions these items may cause with Cabometyx.
Interactions with drugs or supplements
Cabometyx can interact with several types of drugs. Some examples include:
- antimicrobial drugs, such as certain antibiotics and antifungals
- certain HIV drugs
- certain epilepsy drugs
Due to these interactions, doctors typically won’t recommend taking Cabometyx with these types of drugs. If you must continue taking certain drugs along with it, your doctor might adjust your dose of Cabometyx.
The list above does not contain all types of drugs that may interact with Cabometyx. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about these interactions and any others that may occur with use of Cabometyx.
Cabometyx can also interact with other types of herbs and supplements, such as St. John’s wort. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist before using herbs and supplements with Cabometyx.
You should avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while taking Cabometyx. If you have questions, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Cabometyx may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Cabometyx. Factors to consider include those in the list below.
- High blood pressure. Cabometyx can cause your blood pressure to increase. If you have high blood pressure that’s not well managed, your doctor will likely not prescribe Cabometyx. If you have high blood pressure, talk with your doctor about whether you can take Cabometyx.
- Hemorrhage. Cabometyx may cause hemorrhage (severe bleeding). If you recently had a hemorrhage, your doctor will likely not prescribe Cabometyx. Talk with your doctor about other treatment options.
- Surgery. Cabometyx can cause your wounds to heal more slowly. You should not take this drug in the 3 weeks before or 2 weeks after major surgery. If you have a surgery planned, talk with your doctor about whether you’ll need to pause your Cabometyx treatment.
- Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Cabometyx or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely recommend that you don’t take Cabometyx. Ask them what other medications are better options for you.
Cabometyx and alcohol
It’s not known if it’s safe to drink alcohol while taking Cabometyx.
If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about the amount that may be safe for you to drink during your treatment.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Cabometyx is not safe to take during pregnancy because it can cause harm to a fetus. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking Cabometyx.
It’s not known if it’s safe to breastfeed while taking Cabometyx. Your doctor will likely recommend that you do not breastfeed during treatment or for 4 months after your last dose of Cabometyx.
If you’re currently breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed, talk with your doctor before taking Cabometyx.
Your doctor will explain how you should take Cabometyx. They will also explain how much to take and how often to take it. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.
You’ll swallow Cabometyx tablets whole. Do not break, crush, or chew the tablets. Cabometyx should not be taken with food. Take your dose at least 1 hour before or at least 2 hours after you eat.
Taking Cabometyx with other drugs
Nivolumab is given as an intravenous (IV) infusion, usually every 2 or 4 weeks. You may receive nivolumab treatment for up to 2 years, as long as you and your doctor decide that it’s safe and effective for you.
Accessible medication containers and labels
If it’s hard for you to read the label on your prescription, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Certain pharmacies may provide medication labels that:
- have large print
- use braille
- contain a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text into audio
Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend a pharmacy that offers these options if your current pharmacy doesn’t.
Also, if you’re having trouble opening your medication bottles, let your pharmacist know. They may be able to put Cabometyx in an easy-open container. Your pharmacist may also recommend tools to help make it simpler to open the drug’s container.
Questions about taking Cabometyx
Below are some common questions about taking Cabometyx.
- Can Cabometyx be chewed, crushed, or split? No, Cabometyx tablets should not be chewed, crushed, or split. You should swallow them whole. For tips on swallowing tablets, see this article.
- Should I take Cabometyx with food? No, you should not take Cabometyx with food. You should take the drug at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after you eat.
Questions for your doctor
You may have questions about Cabometyx and your treatment plan. It’s important to discuss all your concerns with your doctor.
Here are a few tips that might help guide your discussion:
- Before your appointment, write down questions such as:
- How will Cabometyx affect my body, mood, or lifestyle?
- Bring someone with you to your appointment if doing so will help you feel more comfortable.
- If you don’t understand something related to your condition or treatment, ask your doctor to explain it to you.
Remember, your doctor and other healthcare professionals are available to help you. And they want you to get the best care possible. So, don’t be afraid to ask questions or offer feedback on your treatment.
Do not take more Cabometyx than your doctor prescribes. Using more than this can lead to serious side effects.
Symptoms of overdose
Symptoms caused by an overdose can include:
- memory loss
- weight loss
- increased levels of blood urea nitrogen (a measurement of how well your kidneys are working)
What to do in case you take too much Cabometyx
Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much Cabometyx. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers, or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room.
If you have questions about Cabometyx, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Below are some questions you may want to ask.
- Will Cabometyx cure my cancer?
- How will I know if Cabometyx is working for me?
- Is there any recent news or research on liver cancer or new treatments?
Can I have major surgery while taking Cabometyx?Anonymous
If you have surgery planned and are taking Cabometyx, you’ll need to stop your treatment at least 3 weeks before your scheduled medical or dental surgery. Cabometyx can cause wounds to heal more slowly. Severe bleeding is also a serious side effect of the drug.
It’s not known exactly when it’s safe to restart Cabometyx treatment after surgery, as this hasn’t been studied. But the drug’s manufacturer recommends waiting at least 2 weeks after your surgery before you start taking Cabometyx again.
To learn more about adjusting your Cabometyx treatment for a planned surgery, talk with your doctor.The Healthline Pharmacist TeamAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.