Akynzeo is a medication designed to prevent nausea and vomiting associated with certain medical treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy. It is composed of two active ingredients: netupitant and palonosetron. Netupitant belongs to a class of drugs known as neurokinin-1 (NK-1) receptor antagonists, while palonosetron is a serotonin 5-HT3 receptor antagonist.

How Does Akynzeo Work?

When undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy, the body releases substances that trigger nausea and vomiting. Akynzeo works by blocking the action of these substances, specifically targeting two different receptors in the body: the NK-1 receptor and the 5-HT3 receptor. By blocking these receptors, Akynzeo helps to prevent nausea and vomiting before they occur, providing relief to patients undergoing these treatments.

Precautions and Warnings With Akynzeo

Before taking Akynzeo, it is important to consider the following precautions and warnings:

  • Allergic Reactions: Individuals with known allergies to any of the ingredients in Akynzeo should not take this medication. Allergic reactions may include rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, or difficulty breathing.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: The safety of Akynzeo during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been established. Consult with your healthcare provider before using Akynzeo if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Liver or Kidney Problems: Individuals with liver or kidney problems may require dosage adjustments or special monitoring while taking Akynzeo.
  • Other Medical Conditions: Inform your healthcare provider about any other medical conditions you have, including heart problems, electrolyte imbalances, or any history of QT prolongation (a type of heart rhythm disorder).
  • Interactions with Other Medications: Akynzeo may interact with other medications, including certain antidepressants, antibiotics, antifungals, and medications used to treat irregular heartbeats (read more below).
  • Driving and Operating Machinery: Akynzeo may cause dizziness or drowsiness. Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until you know how Akynzeo affects you.

Akynzeo Side Effects

While Akynzeo is generally well-tolerated, it may cause side effects in some individuals. As reported by GoodRx, side effects of Akynzeo may include:

Common Side Effects

  • Headache (9%)
  • Weakness (8%)
  • Fatigue (4-7%)
  • Indigestion (4%)
  • Constipation (3%)
  • Skin redness (3%)

Serious Side Effects

  • Serotonin Syndrome: This is a potentially life-threatening condition characterized by:
    • Mental status changes (such as agitation, hallucinations, delirium, or coma)
    • Fast heart rate
    • Changes in blood pressure
    • Dizziness
    • Sweating
    • Flushing
    • Feeling hot
    • Tremor (shakiness)
    • Muscle stiffness
    • Sudden involuntary muscle movements
    • Twitching or spasms
    • Uncoordinated movement (losing your balance)

Serious Allergic Reactions

These may include hives, trouble breathing, and swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. If you experience any signs of a serious allergic reaction, seek immediate medical attention.

Drug Interactions with Akynzeo 

Akynzeo may interact with other medications, potentially affecting their effectiveness or increasing the risk of side effects. Some medications that may interact with Akynzeo include:

Medication ClassExamples
Alpha blockersAlfuzosin, Silodosin, Tamsulosin (Flomax)
AntiarrhythmicsAmiodarone, Disopyramide, Lidocaine (Xylocaine)
Anti-cancerDocetaxel, Doxorubicin, Paclitaxel
Anti-psychoticsClozapine, Olanzapine, Quetiapine  (Seroquel)
Azole antifungals
BenzodiazepinesAlprazolam, Diazepam, Midazolam
Birth controlYaz, Seasonique
Calcium channelAmlodipine (Norvasc), Diltiazem (Tiazac), Nifedipine
ClindamycinFound in Onexton
CorticosteroidsDexamethasone, Methylprednisolone (Depo-medrol)
Ergot alkaloidsDihydroergotamine, Ergonovine, Ergotamine
HIV medicationsEfavirenz, Indinavir, Ritonavir (found in Kaletra)
MacrolideClarithromycin (Biaxin), Erythromycin
MAOIsPhenelzine, Tranylcypromine (Parnate)
NarcoticsFentanyl, Hydrocodone, Methadone, Oxycodone
PDE-5 inhibitorsSildenafil (Viagra) , Tadalafil (Cialis)
SSRIsCitalopram (Celexa), Fluoxetine (Prozac)
SNRIsDuloxetine (Cymbalta), Venlafaxine (Effexor)
TricyclicAmitriptyline, Clomipramine
StatinsAtorvastatin (Lipitor), Lovastatin

Akynzeo Strengths and Dosages

Available Strength(s)

Akynzeo is available as a single-dose oral capsule containing netupitant 300 mg and palonosetron 0.5 mg.

Recommended Dosage

  • The recommended dosage of Akynzeo for the prevention of nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy is one capsule taken orally approximately one hour before the start of chemotherapy treatment.
  • Akynzeo may be taken with or without food. Swallow the capsule whole with a glass of water, and do not crush, chew, or break the capsule.
  • Dosage adjustments may be necessary for patients with liver or kidney impairment.

Cost of Akynzeo in America

At this time of writing, GoodRx reports the average cost of 300mg/0.5mg Akynzeo (1 capsule) in America is approximately $713.64.

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Akynezeo Alternatives 

While Akynzeo is an effective medication for preventing nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy, there are alternative treatments available for patients who may not tolerate or prefer alternatives. Some alternatives to Akynzeo may include:

  • Other Antiemetic Medications: There are several other antiemetic medications available that work through different mechanisms to prevent nausea and vomiting. These may include medications such as ondansetron (Zofran), granisetron, and aprepitant.
  • Non-Pharmacological Approaches: In addition to medications, non-pharmacological approaches may help alleviate nausea and vomiting. These may include dietary modifications, relaxation techniques, acupuncture, and hypnosis.
  • Adjusting Chemotherapy Regimen: At times, adjusting the chemotherapy regimen or schedule may help reduce the severity of nausea and vomiting. Your healthcare provider may explore modifying the type or dosage of chemotherapy drugs or administering them in a different manner to minimize side effects.
  • Supportive Care: Supportive care measures, such as hydration therapy, nutritional support, and psychological support, can also help manage nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Frequently Asked Questions of Akynezeo

What form(s) does Akynzeo come in?

Akynzeo is available as a single-dose oral capsule containing netupitant 300 mg and palonosetron 0.5 mg.

What is Akynzeo used for?

Akynzeo is used for the prevention of nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

What are Akynzeo side effects?

Common side effects of Akynzeo may include headache, fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, weakness, abdominal pain, and changes in taste sensation. Rare but serious side effects may include allergic reactions, severe dizziness or fainting, irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing or swallowing, and chest pain.

How does Akynzeo work?

Akynzeo works by blocking the action of substances that trigger nausea and vomiting in the body. It contains two active ingredients: netupitant, which is a neurokinin-1 (NK-1) receptor antagonist, and palonosetron, which is a serotonin 5-HT3 receptor antagonist. By blocking these receptors, Akynzeo helps prevent nausea and vomiting before they occur.

How long does Akynzeo last?

The duration of action of Akynzeo may vary among individuals and depends on factors such as metabolism and overall health. Typically, Akynzeo provides relief from nausea and vomiting for up to 24 hours after administration.

Who is the manufacturer of Akynzeo?

Akynzeo is manufactured by Helsinn Therapeutics (U.S.), Inc., a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the lives of patients through innovative therapies.

Is there a generic version of Akynzeo?

Currently, there is no generic version of Akynzeo available on the market. Akynzeo is a brand-name medication, and its generic equivalents may not be available until the expiration of patent protection.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. It should not be taken as an endorsement of any specific medication or treatment. Individual health conditions and responses to treatment can vary greatly; therefore, this information should not be seen as a guarantee of safety, suitability, or effectiveness for any particular individual. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice and before making any decisions regarding your health or treatment plans.

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