Learn about her treatment journey and experience with ALUNBRIG
Donna is a hypothetical ALUNBRIG patient
This is ALUNBRIG (brigatinib).
ALUNBRIG is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with non-small cell lung cancer that has a certain type of abnormal anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene, and that has spread to other parts of your body.
It is not known if ALUNBRIG is safe and effective in children.
Hey, I’m Donna. I’m 59, married and a teacher. I’m here to share my story of living with lung cancer and receiving treatment with ALUNBRIG.
When I was 55, I started having trouble breathing. I also had a cough and headaches that wouldn’t go away. Chest pains too.
My pulmonologist tried to reassure me it may not be anything serious, but stressed the importance of doing tests. I got an x-ray, CT scan and MRI eventually.
In hindsight, I realized I should have got them sooner. These tests showed I had cancer, most likely lung cancer, and it had spread to my brain and liver.
I couldn’t believe it. I felt like I was stuck in limbo, I didn’t know what to do next. My husband Rob was very supportive and together we made decisions on how to treat my lung cancer. Rob is my care partner. I couldn’t make it through without him, but we had a lot to learn.
First, finding an oncologist. He recommended genetic testing to guide my treatment options like targeted therapy. The test was looking for something wrong in my genes, such as an alteration in the structure of the gene called ALK, which stands for anaplastic lymphoma kinase. Genes are inherited and carry information for making proteins that help build and maintain our bodies.
Having an altered ALK gene is one form of NSCLC. This cancer type is called ALK-positive NSCLC. While we waited on test results, my oncologist started chemotherapy because my cancer had spread elsewhere in my body.
During that time of waiting for the results, I felt powerless. Turns out I did have an alteration in my ALK gene. That meant that there was a problem with the genetic instructions for ALK leading to signals in the lungs that tell cancer cells to grow. My husband and I had a conversation with my doctor about the alteration in my ALK gene.
For the first time since getting my diagnosis, I felt hopeful to know that though my cancer type had no cure, there was targeted therapy available. That’s a type of treatment that can help stop or slow the growth, progression, and spread of cancer by targeting specific molecules that are responsible for cancel cell growth.
I also felt empowered that I was able to get information that had to do with my specific disease. And I wish I had got the results of my testing sooner. It’s important to talk to your doctor about your testing options.
Being ALK-positive meant I needed a doctor with experience treating ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC patients. She told me that there are a number of treatment options for this disease, and there are benefits and side effects to each of them.
And one of those options was ALUNBRIG, a targeted therapy recommended for patients with ALK-positive NSCLC.
It is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with my kind of non-small cell lung cancer that has a certain type of abnormal anaplastic lymphoma kinase ALK gene, and that has spread to other parts of your body.
It is not known if ALUNBRIG is safe and effective in children.
Your healthcare provider will start you on a low dose, 90 milligrams of ALUNBRIG for the first seven days of treatment.
If you tolerate this dose of ALUNBRIG well, your healthcare provider may increase your dose after the first seven days of treatment. Both are in single oral pill form once a day.
ALUNBRIG blocks the abnormal ALK protein found in cancer cells or in cells related to cancer growth.
What are the possible side effects?
ALUNBRIG can cause serious side effects, including swelling of the lungs, high blood pressure, slow heart rate, vision problems, muscle pain, tenderness and weakness, inflammation of the pancreas, liver problems, high blood sugar, and photosensitivity.
Other common side effects may include diarrhea, fatigue, nausea, rash, cough, headache, vomiting, or shortness of breath.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant and about all your medical conditions and the medicines you take.
These are not all of the possible side effects of ALUNBRIG. Call your doctor about side effects.
ALUNBRIG was evaluated in a study that looked at 275 patients with ALK-positive NSCLC that had spread to other parts of their body and compared results between those taking ALUNBRIG and those taking a different medicine called crizotinib.
Before you take ALUNBRIG, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you have lung or breathing problems, high blood pressure, a slow heartbeat, or any vision problems, have or have had pancreatitis, have liver problems, have diabetes mellitus or glucose intolerance, have kidney problems or are on dialysis, are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.
Overall, 74% or three out of four patients had their tumors shrink in people taking ALUNBRIG versus crizotinib. More than half of the people who responded to ALUNBRIG maintained that response for two years or longer.
So ALUNBRIG may help me live two times longer without my disease getting worse or spreading compared to crizotinib.
When I started on ALUNBRIG, at times I had worsening of my high blood pressure and I worked with my oncologist who adjusted my dosing.
Speak with your doctor about any side effects you experience while taking ALUNBRIG.
I also experienced other side effects, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and appetite loss.
I’ve taken ALUNBRIG for two years now and my disease hasn’t gotten worse. I work closely with my doctor to stay on top of my disease. And with family, doctors, and my community, I’ve stayed positive.
The most common side effects of ALUNBRIG include diarrhea, fatigue, nausea, rash, cough, muscle pain, headache, high blood pressure, vomiting, and difficulty breathing.
ALUNBRIG can cause serious side effects including serious or life-threatening lung problems, high blood pressure, slow heart rate, vision problems, muscle pain, tenderness and weakness, inflammation of the pancreas, liver problems, high blood sugar, or photo sensitivity.
Discuss ALUNBRIG with your doctor as an option to treat your ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC.
ALUNBRIG can cause serious side effects, including severe lung problems, high blood pressure (hypertension), slow heart rate (bradycardia), vision problems, muscle pain, tenderness, and weakness (myalgia), inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), liver problems (hepatotoxicity), high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), and photosensitivity.
ALUNBRIG may cause severe of life-threatening swelling (inflammation) of the lungs any time during treatment, and can lead to death. These lung problems happen especially within the first week of treatment with ALUNBRIG.
Symptoms may be similar to those symptoms from lung cancer. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new or worsening symptoms of trouble breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain, cough (with or without mucus) or fever.