As a type of chemotherapy drug, Stivarga is prescribed for the treatment of colorectal cancer that has spread to other areas of the body. This medicine comes as a tablet that is usually taken once a day in the morning. It works by stopping or slowing down the growth of cancer cells. Side effects are common and include diarrhea, weakness, and mouth sores.
What Is Stivarga?
Stivarga® (regorafenib) is a prescription medication approved to treat colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum) that has spread to other areas of the body. It is used when the cancer has progressed after treatment with other chemotherapy. Stivarga belongs to a group of medicines known as multikinase inhibitors.
Stivarga is manufactured by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
How Does Stivarga Work?
Stivarga works by blocking the action of several kinases. Kinases are naturally occurring proteins in the body that help regulate many functions of cells in the body, including cell growth. Kinases also tell cancer cells to grow and divide. By blocking the action of kinases, Stivarga can slow down or stop the growth of cancer cells.
Stivarga has been shown to help people with colorectal cancer live longer. In one clinical study, people who had colorectal cancer that had spread to other areas of the body were randomly assigned to take Stivarga or a placebo (a "sugar pill" that does not contain any active ingredients).
In this study, people who took Stivarga lived a median of 6.4 months (the median is the middle number of a group, meaning half the people survived less than 6.4 months, while half survived longer than 6.4 months). In comparison, people who took the placebo lived a median of 5 months.
In addition, those receiving Stivarga lived two months without their tumors growing (this is known as progression-free survival). People receiving the placebo lived 1.7 months without tumor growth.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed January 4, 2013.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) news release. FDA approves new treatment for advanced colorectal cancer. September 27, 2012. Available at http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm321271.htm. Accessed October 9, 2012.
Micromedex 2.0 Healthcare Series [Internet database]. Greenwood Village, Colo: Thomson Reuters (Healthcare), Inc. Updated periodically. Accessed October 9, 2012.
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