Health Guide

Venetoclax (By mouth)

Venetoclax (ven-ET-oh-klax)

Treats chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

Brand Name(s):


There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you are pregnant.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
  • Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to use. Do not use more than directed.
  • Take this medicine with food and water at the same time each day. Swallow the tablet whole. Do not break, crush, or chew it.
  • Drink plenty of water each day to help prevent tumor lysis syndrome.
  • Do not change your dose or stop taking this medicine, unless you are told to do so by your doctor.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Ask your pharmacist for a copy if you do not have one.
  • Missed dose:
    • Less than 8 hours late: Take the missed dose as soon as you can, and then take your next dose at the regular time.
    • More than 8 hours late : Skip the missed dose and just take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
    • If you vomit after you take a dose, do not take another dose to make up for it. Just take the next dose at the regular time.
  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep the Starter Pack tablets in the original package. Do not transfer the medicine to a pillbox or another container.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Do not use this medicine together with clarithromycin, conivaptan, indinavir, itraconazole, ketoconazole, lopinavir, posaconazole, ritonavir, telaprevir, or voriconazole.
  • Some foods and medicines can affect how venetoclax works. Tell your doctor if you are using amiodarone, azithromycin, bosentan, captopril, carbamazepine, carvedilol, ciprofloxacin, cyclosporine, digoxin, diltiazem, dronedarone, efavirenz, erythromycin, etravirine, everolimus, felodipine, fluconazole, modafinil, nafcillin, phenytoin, quercetin, quinidine, ranolazine, rifampin, sirolimus, St John's wort, ticagrelor, verapamil, or warfarin.
  • Do not drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit, starfruit, or Seville oranges while you are using this medicine.
  • This medicine may interfere with vaccines. Ask your doctor before you get a flu shot or any other vaccines.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • It is not safe to take this medicine during pregnancy. It could harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Use an effective form of birth control during treatment and for at least 30 days after treatment ends.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, gout, or a history of high uric acid levels in the blood.
  • This medicine may cause tumor lysis syndrome, an electrolyte and metabolic problem that can be life-threatening. Your doctor may give you a medicine to help prevent this.
  • This medicine lowers the number of white blood cells. This weakens your immune system, so you may get infections more easily. Wash your hands often. Avoid people who are sick.
  • This medicine could cause infertility. Talk with your doctor before using this medicine if you plan to have children.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Confusion, trouble breathing, seizures, uneven heartbeat, joint pain, stiffness, or swelling
  • Decrease in how much or how often you urinate, lower back or side pain
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Diarrhea, nausea

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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