Ibrance is a drug prescribed with other medications, depending on the severity of the cancer and patient profile, to treat breast cancer.

Breast cancer accounts for 30% of new cancers in women. While it is common in women, men get breast cancer too.

When diagnosed and treated early, breast cancer can go into complete remission. However, if it gets to advanced stages, this disease may be hard, and almost impossible, to cure. In such cases, treatment can be administered to control the cancer, relieve pain, and manage other symptoms.

Ibrance medication falls under a group of drugs called CDK4/6 inhibitors. This medication contains the active ingredient Palbociclib and is usually prescribed alongside other types of medication such as hormone therapy to treat breast cancer.

It is administered to both males and females who have HR-positive and HER2-negative breast cancer that has metastasized. For women who have not reached menopause, it is combined with hormonal medication like letrozole. In other individuals, it is given alongside fulvestrant.

How Does Ibrance Work?

Ibrance inhibits two proteins cyclin-dependent kinase 4 and 6. These proteins are involved in the regulation of the cell cycle, specifically the transition where DNA replication occurs.

After the inhibition of CDK4/6, Palbociclib interferes with the cell cycle progression, causing the cancer cells to be arrested. This action prevents the cancer cells from proliferating and dividing rapidly.

This drug is usually combined with other cancer medications like hormone therapies or chemotherapy, depending on the type and the stage of the breast cancer. The combined approach enhances the effectiveness of the treatment by targeting multiple pathways involved in cancer growth and progression.

Precautions and Warnings with Ibrance

Before you start using Ibrance, you need to be aware of the precautions and warnings of the drug. Tell your doctor about your medical history, if you are breastfeeding or expectant, or if you’re using any medication. These details will determine if this medication is right for you and impact how it should be used.

  • Neutropenia: Patients using Ibrance may experience neutropenia which can even cause death. Close monitoring of patients is required when using the medication.
  • Lung Disease: This medication may cause ILD or pneumonitis, which can be life-threatening. People suffering from lung conditions are at a higher risk of experiencing these conditions. Talk to your doctor if you are suffering from any lung conditions before being administered the medication.
  • Pregnant Women: The medication may cause harm to the fetus when administered to pregnant women.
  • Cardiovascular Conditions: Ibrance increases the risk of cardiovascular side effects such as irregular or fast heart rate. Contact your doctor immediately in case you experience the side effects.
  • Allergic Reactions: Tell your doctor if you are allergic to the medication or its ingredients. This prevents you from experiencing adverse side effects due to the medication.
  • Infections: Ibrance may cause a decrease in white blood cells putting you at risk of infections such as viruses or fungal infections due to the weakening of your immune system.
  • Driving and Operating Heavy Machinery: Ibrance causes dizziness and drowsiness. Do not drive or operate heavy machines when under medication.

Side Effects Associated With Ibrance

Ibrance may result in various side effects, categorized as either common or severe. While common side effects can often be managed, severe ones require immediate medical attention. Not all patients will experience the side effects, should you encounter any severe side effects contact your doctor for assistance.

Common Side Effects

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Blurred Vision
  • Nose bleeding
  • Mouth sores
  • Fatigue

Severe Side Effects

  • Low levels of platelets
  • Anemia
  • Signs of lung conditions such as shortness of breath
  • Allergic reactions
  • Hair thinning or loss of hair
  • Low level of certain white blood cells

Drug Interactions With Ibrance

Numerous medications interact with Ibrance. These interactions can lead to changes in the effectiveness of the drug and potentially exacerbate side effects. Before taking Ibrance inform your doctor about any other medications you are currently taking to prevent any interactions.

Drug Interactions
Anticoagulants (warfarin)Taking warfarin or heparin concurrently with Ibrance may increase bleeding. Close monitoring is necessary to prevent excessive bleeding.
AmiodaroneConcurrent use of amiodarone and Ibrance increases the risk of serious cardiovascular conditions such as arrhythmias.
Endocrine therapy medications (tamoxifen)Combining Ibrance with endocrine therapy medications can increase the risk of certain side effects such as neutropenia.
Herbal SupplementsHerbal supplements may induce the enzymes, potentially reducing the effectiveness of Ibrance.
Proton Pump Inhibitors (omeprazole)Proton Pump Inhibitors reduce gastric acid secretion and can decrease the absorption of the medication when combined with Ibrance
KetoconazoleThe interaction between ketoconazole and Ibrance increases the concentration of Ibrance in the blood which leads to potential toxicity.

Strengths and Dosages of Ibrance

The prescription of Ibrance depends on the condition of your liver, the current medications that you are on, and your tolerability to the drug. The medication is taken for 28 days in a cycle.

Age Dosage   No. of times a day
Starting dose First dose Second dose
Adults125mg100mg75mgOnce per day

The dosage adjustment guidelines for Ibrance may differ. Adjustments may be required based on the patient’s factors and the severity of side effects experienced. In cases where the patient experiences side effects necessitating a dosage modification, it is important to follow the recommendations provided by a doctor.

Consulting with a doctor ensures that any necessary dosage modifications are made in a timely and appropriate manner, optimizing the patient’s treatment plan and minimizing the risk of adverse side effects.

Cost of Ibrance in America

The oral Ibrance containing 21 capsules each with 75 mg costs about $16,839, depending on the pharmacy a customer visits. The quoted prices are for persons who pay on cash terms. Customers with a different form of payment may get a different price.

Why is Ibrance So Expensive?

Ibrance medication is very expensive. The major factors contributing to this high price include;

  • Research and Development Cost When developing a new medication, pharmaceutical companies invest in a lot of research and investment. These companies will tend to consider this when setting their price.
  • Cost of Production – Coming up with a drug such as Ibrance involves processes that need a lot of monitoring and specialized facilities which can be quite expensive. This cost of production is also featured in its pricing.
  • Limited Competition – Ibrance is a member of the CDK4/6 inhibitor pharmacological class, and it was among the first treatments in this class to be approved for the treatment of breast cancer. The manufacturer can keep prices higher since there is less competition in the market.
  • Market Demand – The limited treatment options for breast cancer types make Ibrance a bit expensive since it is a necessary medication.

Ibrance Alternatives

Several drug alternatives can be used in place of Ibrance for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. These alternative drugs can be used alongside other therapies depending on the severity and characteristics of the cancer.

Some of the commonly used alternatives include;

  • Letrozole (Femara)This is used to minimize the risk of a woman’s breast cancer reoccurring. It works by decreasing the production of estrogen in postmenopausal women. By doing so, it slows the growth of hormone-sensitive tumors.
  • Anastrozole – Yet another alternative drug for Ibrance that works by inhibiting the production of hormones such as estrogen in a woman’s body.
  • Exemestane – The steroidal aromatase inhibitor exemestane prevents the synthesis of estrogen. It is used to treat metastatic breast cancer as well as an adjuvant therapy for postmenopausal women with early-stage HR+ breast cancer.
  • Other Alternative Medications- Some other alternative medications to Ibrance include; Abemaciclib (Verzenio), Ribociclib (Kisqali), Fulvestrant (Faslodex), Arimidex, and Tamoxifen.

FAQs With Ibrance

If you are a current customer, and have additional questions about Ibrance, feel free to contact us, and we will have one of our licensed pharmacist reach out to you.

What is Ibrance used for?

Ibrance is used in conjunction with other drugs (such as aromatase blockers or fulvestrant) to treat hormonal receptor-positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factors receptor (HER) 2-negative (HER2-), advanced, or metastatic breast cancer in postmenopausal women or men.

How many years can you take Ibrance?

The duration that one is bound to take the Ibrance treatment can vary depending patient’s factors such as the stage of the cancer, how the cancer is progressing, and how the patient tolerates the medication. Ideally, Ibrance can be used for over 2 years provided the patient is deriving clinical benefit from it.

Who makes Ibrance?

This medication is developed by Pfizer, an American pharmaceutical and biotechnology company.

How long does Ibrance work?

Ibrance’s efficacy varies from patient to patient. It usually acts by inhibiting or halting the proliferation of cancer cells, though how long it remains effective can vary according to the stage of the cancer and response to treatment.

How do you know if Ibrance is working?

Your healthcare provider can monitor cancer response to Ibrance by conducting various tests such as imaging scans.

Can you drink alcohol when taking Ibrance?

DDoctorsalways discourage you from taking alcohol while on Ibrance because alcohol can intensify certain side effects of the medication.

What happens if you stop taking Ibrance?

The cancerous cells will continue to grow and even progress to a dangerous stage.

How does Verzenio compare with Ibrance?

Verzenio (abemaciclib) is another CDK4/6 inhibitor used to treat HR+, HER2-negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer. Despite being in the same drug class, Ibrance and Verzenio differ in terms of dosage, adverse effect profiles, and information from clinical trials.

What foods to avoid with Ibrance?

Patients on Ibrance should avoid taking grapefruit products, including grapefruit and grapefruit juice as they may significantly increase Ibrance concentrations in blood.

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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