Nexavar: see if it is chemotherapy and if it cures liver cancer

Cancer treatment is, in general, quite complex. Some diagnoses can be very specific and already have a well-defined treatment protocol.

However, other conditions still have few resources and drugs, for example, liver cancer. This condition is one of the indications for the use of Nexavar, a drug called the target therapy and which can prolong the survival of patients.

In addition, the drug is indicated for some cases of kidney and thyroid cancer. See more about it and how it acts on the body:


What is Nexavar?

Nexavar is a drug composed of Sorafenib, in the form of tosylate, each tablet containing 274mg of the active substance. The drug is indicated to treat some types of kidney, liver and thyroid cancer, as long as they meet specific conditions.

It is considered a target therapy. This type of medication, unlike chemotherapy drugs that act in a systemic way, works with more specificity. That is, it is able to affect less healthy cells in the body, which also generates less adverse effects.

The active ingredient works by inhibiting substances that cause the growth of cancer cells to slow down, as well as interrupting the blood supply. It also stops cancer cells from growing.

Nexavar is the reference drug based on the substance Sorafenib Tosylate, produced by the pharmaceutical industry Bayer, approved in 2009 by ANVISA for liver cancer.

It was the first method to demonstrate effective results in treating the disease. Although it is not able to cure it, the drug has been shown to prolong the lives of patients, on average, by 4 months – a time that increases the chances of a person getting a liver donation.

What is Nexavar Bayer used for?

Nexavar is indicated, according to the package insert, for some specific types of cancer in the liver, kidney and thyroid. Learn more about each condition:

Hepatocellular carcinoma

Hepatocellular cancer, also called hepatocarcinoma, is a primary malignant neoplasm of the liver. The incidence of the disease is considered rare, and approximately 5 people are diagnosed for every 100 thousand in Brazil.

Most of these cases are related to liver cirrhosis , in addition to being associated with chronic hepatitis secondary to Hepatitis C or Hepatitis B infection and alcohol consumption.

Many conditions, initially, can be treated with surgery, however, patients ineligible for resection (surgery) or with some impediment are indicated for palliative therapy. In these cases, Nexavar can be indicated, in order to increase survival and improve the well-being of patients.

Renal cell carcinoma

Renal cell carcinoma, also called renal cell adenocarcinoma, is the most common type of cancer that affects the kidneys. The condition develops with the appearance of a tumor within the organ, and in some cases, there may be more than one simultaneously.

It is worth mentioning that there are disease subtypes, and the choice of the best treatment depends on the identification of the disease.

In these cases, Nexavar is indicated for the treatment of advanced cases that have undergone treatment with interferon-alpha or interleuk-2 and have not been successful, or even those cases that are considered ineligible for these treatments.

Differentiated thyroid carcinoma

Differentiated thyroid carcinoma is a type of thyroid cancer and is the most common type, which is further subdivided into other types (hence the differentiated name).

The most common is the group called papillary carcinoma, reaching 80% of cases. In addition to it, other types are follicular carcinoma or follicular adenoma (reaching 10% of cases) and Hürthle cell carcinoma (reaching 3% of cases).

Thus, Nexavar is indicated in cases of differentiated thyroid carcinoma (papillary, follicular or Hürthle cells), locally advanced or metastatic, in progress, which was previously treated with radioactive iodine, but was resistant to therapy.

Is it chemotherapy?

No. Chemotherapy is a treatment based on drugs, which can be injectable or oral, which act by inhibiting growth and destroying sick cells.

In general, it works by identifying the cells that are reproducing very quickly, which is a characteristic of cancer cells. However, there are other healthy ones that also have this behavior, such as hair and sexual organs.

As the chemotherapy drug is carried through the bloodstream and acts throughout the body, it can also affect healthy cells, preventing the proper functioning of the body.

Nexavar is considered a target therapy, which means that it is produced to specifically bind to enzymes present in tumor cells, preventing it from acting in non-sick cells.

How does the active ingredient sorafenib tosylate act?

Sorafenib Tosylate is a therapeutic technology called target therapy, of the multiple kinase inhibitor type.

This means that it is produced to have a high affinity for genes or proteins present in diseased cells, which reduces the chances of possible side effects.

It inhibits tyrosine kinase enzymes, which play a key role in tumor growth.

In addition, the substance promotes an action called antiangiogenesis, which consists of blocking the action of serine threonina kinases, substances responsible for the proliferation of blood vessels that feed the tumor mass. Without blood nutrition, the tumor is destroyed.

Side effects: what can Nexavar cause?

Any medication can cause adverse effects, and the intensity and frequency of them can be quite variable between each patient.

According to the package insert, the most common symptoms related to the use of the drug include fatigue , weight loss, hair loss , diarrhea , lack of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, hypertension, infection and bleeding.

In addition, the package insert reports a condition called hand-foot. It is a side effect common to some cancer drugs, which causes redness, swelling and pain especially in the palms or soles.

More rarely, the condition may affect other parts of the body, such as the knees and elbows. In more severe conditions, cracking and peeling of the skin, blisters, ulcers and wounds that cause severe pain may occur.

In addition, there is also the possibility of other manifestations, in common frequency, such as:

  • Poor digestion (dyspepsia);
  • Inflammation of the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract (mucositis);
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia);
  • Pain or burning in the tongue and oral cavity, with painful lesions, including dry and inflamed mouth (stomatitis);
  • Gastroesophageal reflux;
  • Muscle pain and spasms;
  • Depression;
  • Alteration of taste (dysgeusia);
  • Erection problems (impotence);
  • Change in voice (dysphonia);
  • Persistent nasal discharge (rhinorrhea);
  • Acne;
  • Redness in the skin (facial and neck flushing);
  • Inflamed, dry or scaly skin that may bleed (exfoliative dermatitis);
  • Infection of hair follicles (folliculitis);
  • Benign localized cell growth of the skin (keratoacanthoma);
  • Skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma);
  • Thickening of the outer layer of the skin (hyperkeratosis);
  • Changes in cardiac function, such as congestive heart failure;
  • Myocardial ischemia and / or myocardial infarction;
  • Alteration of kidney function;
  • Low blood cell count (white, red cells (anemia) or platelets);
  • Temporary increase in enzymes produced by the liver, detected in blood tests;
  • Low calcium levels in the blood (hypocalcaemia);
  • Low blood potassium levels (hypokalemia);
  • Low blood sodium levels (hyponatremia);
  • Thyroid gland with reduced activity (hypothyroidism);
  • High levels of protein in the urine (proteinuria).

Is there a generic of Nexavar?

No. Currently, Bayer is the only pharmaceutical industry that makes Sorafenib Tosylate available in Brazil, with Nexavar being the reference drug.

Does SUS provide Nexavar?

No. Sorafenib tosylate was evaluated by CONITEC, in view of the request for inclusion of the drug to SUS for the treatment of advanced unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, in August 2018, the decree was published that determines the non-therapeutic incorporation.

This does not prevent a new evaluation request from being made in the future and sorafenib tosylate being incorporated into the SUS. However, for now, treatment is not yet part of the public system.

It is also worth mentioning that, if patients have a medical recommendation for use, one can resort to judicial means to try to pay for it.

In such cases, it is necessary to present the medical report, prescriptions, exams and other supporting documents, in addition to the budget of 3 different pharmacies.

To facilitate this item, patients can turn to high-cost medication quotation advice from the Consulta Remédios group.

Does Nexavar cure liver cancer?

No. Sorafenib cannot cure liver cancer, however, studies have shown that the substance can inhibit tumor cell proliferation and tumor growth due to interrupted blood supply. This results in an increase in survival of people treated by approximately 4 months.

Although it seems little, this is a very promising result, once liver cancer is a very complex and difficult to treat condition.

There are few possibilities for intervention and, in recent years, sorafenib tosylate was the first substance capable of showing results.

What is the price of nexavar 200mg?

The Nexavar is part of the high-cost drugs group. Each 200mg box , containing 60 pills , costs on average between R $ 5,490 to R $ 6,197 *.

* Price consulted in December 2019. Prices may change.

Cancer is a condition that has a high impact on people’s lives. Whether due to the progression of the disease or due to psychological impairment, receiving a diagnosis of a tumor is always a delicate condition.

However, more and more medicine has studied and discovered substances capable of improving well-being, relieving symptoms and reducing the progression of the disease.

Nexavar is one of those medicines. Based on Sorafenib Tosylate, the drug has been shown to increase the survival of patients affected by thyroid, renal or hepatocellular carcinomas.

To learn more about medicines, medical news and therapeutic resources, keep an eye on Hickey solution!

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