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Sorafenib oral


Oral formulations of sorafenib.

Drugs List

  • NEXAVAR 200mg tablets
  • sorafenib 200mg tablets
  • Therapeutic Indications


    Advanced renal cell carcinoma- interferon alpha/interleukin2 therapy failed
    Differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC)
    Hepatocellular carcinoma

    Advanced renal cell carcinoma in patients who have failed to respond to prior treatment with interferon-alpha or interleukin-2 based therapy, or are considered unsuitable for such therapy.

    Hepatocellular carcinoma.

    Progressive, locally advanced or metastatic, differentiated (papillary/follicular/Hurthle cell) thyroid carcinoma that is refractory to radioactive iodine.


    Whilst the doses stated below are those recommended by the manufacturer, local cancer network protocols for the relevant indication should be consulted.


    400mg twice a day.
    Continue treatment as long as clinical benefit is seen or until unacceptable toxicity occurs.

    Additional Dosage Information

    Dose reductions due to adverse reactions
    Hepatocellular carcinoma and renal cell carcinoma:
    Reduce to 400 mg once daily.

    Differentiated thyroid carcinoma:
    First dose reduction: 400mg in the morning and 200mg in the evening (given 12 hours apart).
    Second dose reduction: 200mg in the morning and 200mg in the evening (given 12 hours apart).
    Third dose reduction: 200mg once daily.

    Following improvement of non-haematological adverse reactions, the dose may be increased.


    Children under 18 years
    Long QT syndrome
    Torsade de pointes

    Precautions and Warnings

    Family history of long QT syndrome
    History of anthracycline therapy
    Recent major surgery
    Risk of haemorrhage
    Tobacco smoking
    Behcet's disease
    Cerebrovascular disorder
    Diabetes mellitus
    Electrolyte imbalance
    Giant cell arteritis
    History of aneurysm
    History of torsade de pointes
    Ischaemic heart disease
    Marfan syndrome
    Occlusive peripheral arterial disease
    Recent myocardial infarction
    Renal dialysis
    Severe hepatic impairment
    Takayasu arteritis
    Uncontrolled hypertension
    Unstable cardiac disorder
    Vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome

    Adjustment of hypoglycaemic therapy may be necessary in diabetes mellitus
    Correct electrolyte disorders before treatment
    Ensure hypertension is controlled prior to treatment
    Treatment to be prescribed under the supervision of a specialist
    Consult local policy on the safe use of oral anti-cancer drugs
    Monitor thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) before & during treatment
    Monitor blood pressure regularly
    Monitor ECG in patients at risk of QT prolongation
    Monitor patients receiving concurrent anticoagulants
    Monitor prothrombin times closely in patients on anticoagulant therapy
    Monitor renal function in elderly patients
    Monitor serum calcium levels
    Monitor serum electrolytes
    Potential for increased risk of bleeding
    Suspend treatment if symptomatic hypoglycaemia occurs
    Discontinue if blood pressure cannot be controlled
    Discontinue if cardiac ischaemia and / or infarction develops
    Discontinue if haemorrhage occurs
    Discontinue if severe skin reaction occurs
    Discontinue treatment if gastrointestinal perforation occurs
    Interrupt treatment in patients undergoing major surgery
    May cause impaired fertility
    Female: Ensure adequate contraception during treatment
    Advise patient on giving up smoking

    As sorafenib is mainly eliminated via the hepatic route, exposure may be increased in patients with severe hepatic impairment (Child Pugh C).

    Monitoring of fluid balance and electrolytes is advised in patients at risk of renal dysfunction. Safety in patients patients requiring dialysis is unknown.

    Dermatological toxicities should be managed with topical therapy for symptomatic relief in addition to treatment interruption and/or dose modification. Consider permament discontinuation in severe or persistent cases.

    Patients with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) with tumours that infiltrate the trachea, bronchus or oesophagus should be treated with localized therapy before administering sorafenib due to the potential risk of bleeding.

    Hypocalcaemia is more commonly reported in patients treated for DTC, especially those with a history of hypoparathyroidism. Close monitoring of serum calcium levels is recommended.

    The effects of sorafenib on wound healing are unknown. As such, the decision to resume therapy following major surgical procedures should be based on clinical judgement of adequate wound healing.

    Risk factors for aneurysm and artery dissection
    Use of systemic VEGF inhibitors may promote the formation of aneurysms or artery dissections, mainly in relation to aortic aneurysm rupture and aortic dissection. It is therefore important to consider the risk of aneurysm and artery dissection in patients with risk factors such as hypertension, history of aneurysm, smoking, diabetes, coronary, cerebrovascular or peripheral arterial disease, and hyperlipidaemia. Other risk factors include Marfan syndrome, vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Takayasu arteritis, and the use of fluoroquinolones. In patients receiving VEGF inhibitors, any modifiable risk factors such as smoking and hypertension should be reduced as far as possible.

    Pregnancy and Lactation


    Sorafenib is contraindicated in pregnancy.

    At the time of writing there is no adequate data available on the use of sorafenib in human pregnancy.

    Animal studies indicate sorafenib and it's metabolites cross the placenta and have shown reproductive toxicity, including malformations. As sorafenib inhibits angiogenesis, a critical component of embryonic and foetal development, use during pregnancy is anticipated to cause foetal harm.

    The manufacturer states that sorafenib should not be used during pregnancy unless clearly necessary, after careful consideration of the needs of the mother and risk to the foetus.

    The use of all medication in pregnancy should be avoided whenever possible; particularly in the first trimester. Non-drug treatments should also be considered. When essential, a medication with the best safety record over time should be chosen, employing the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Polypharmacy should be avoided. Teratogens taken in the pre-embryonic period, often quoted as lasting until 14 to 17 days post-conception, are believed to have an all-or-nothing effect. Where drugs have a short half-life, and when the date of conception is certain, this may allow women to be reassured where drug exposure has occurred within this time frame. Further advice may be available from the UK National Teratology Information Service (NTIS) and through ToxBase, available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).


    Sorafenic is contraindicated in breast feeding.

    It is not known whether sorafenib is excreted in human breast milk. Excretion has been observed in animal studies and based on the molecular weight and long elimination half life of sorafenib, excretion in human breast milk is likely to occur. Exposure to sorafenib could harm infant growth and development and as such, the manufacturer states that women must not breast feed during sorafenib treatment.

    Neonates, infants born prematurely, those with low birth weight, those with an unstable gastrointestinal function or who have serious illnesses may require special consideration. For any infant, if a drug is prescribed to the nursing mother, it should be at the lowest practical dose and for the shortest time. When drug administration is unavoidable and breastfeeding is to continue, minimisation of exposure of the infant to the drug may sometimes be achieved by timing the maternal doses to just after a feeding episode. Infants exposed to drugs via breast milk should be monitored for unusual signs or symptoms. Interactions between the drug received by the infant from the mother's milk and medication prescribed for the infant should also be considered, for example, when the drug given to the infant may prevent metabolism of the drug received via breast milk.
    Specialist advice is available from the UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory Service at


    Advise women of child bearing potential that they must use effective contraception during treatment.

    Advise patients that Sorafenib should be administered without food or with a low or moderate fat meal. If the patient intends to have a high fat meal the tablets should be taken at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after the meal.

    Side Effects

    Abnormal INR
    Acute respiratory distress
    Altered prothrombin concentration
    Anaphylactic reaction
    Congestive cardiac failure
    Dry mouth
    Dry skin
    Elevated serum lipase
    Erectile dysfunction
    Erythema multiforme
    Exfoliative dermatitis
    Gastro-intestinal perforation
    Gastroesophageal reflux disease
    Hand-foot syndrome
    Hypersensitivity reactions
    Hypertensive crisis
    Increase in serum alkaline phosphatase (reversible)
    Increased amylase secretion
    Increases in serum transaminases (transient)
    Influenza-like symptoms
    Interstitial lung disease
    Leukocytoclastic vasculitis
    Mucosal inflammation
    Muscle spasm
    Myocardial infarction
    Myocardial ischaemia
    Nephrotic syndrome
    Peripheral neuropathy
    Prolongation of QT interval
    Radiation recall dermatitis
    Renal failure
    Reversible posterior leucoencephalopathy syndrome (RPLS)
    Serum bilirubin increased
    Skin reactions
    Squamous cell carcinoma
    Stevens-Johnson syndrome
    Toxic epidermal necrolysis
    Weight loss


    It is strongly recommended that the UK National Poisons Information Service be consulted on cases of suspected or actual overdose where there is doubt over the degree of risk or about appropriate management.

    The following number will direct the caller to the relevant local centre (0844) 892 0111

    Information may be obtained if you have access to ToxBase the primary clinical toxicology database of the National Poisons Information Service. This is available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).

    Further Information

    Last Full Review Date: October 2018

    Reference Sources

    Drugs During Pregnancy and Lactation: Treatment Options and Risk Assessment, 3rd edition (2015) ed. Schaefer, C., Peters, P. and Miller, R. Elsevier, London.

    Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk, 10th edition (2015) ed. Briggs, G., Freeman, R. Wolters Kluwer Health, Philadelphia.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Nexavar 200mg film-coated tablets. Bayer. Revised June 2018.

    MHRA Drug Safety Update July 2020
    Available at:
    Last accessed: 10 November 2020

    US National Library of Medicine. Toxicology Data Network. Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed).
    Available at:
    Sorafenib Last revised: 19 August 2016
    Last accessed: 04 October 2018

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