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Vorinostat (Zolinza)

How does this medicine work?

Vorinostat (vor-IN-oh-stat) is a cancer medicine known as a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor. It works by destroying or stopping the growth of cancer cells.

How is the medicine given?

Vorinostat is given by mouth as a capsule. It should be taken at the same time each day and with food. Vorinostat should not be opened, crushed, broken, or chewed. If you or your child are unable to swallow capsules, please let your provider know and the pharmacist will prepare a liquid dose of the Vorinostat.

What are the side effects?


  • Low blood cell counts
  • Fatigue
  • Increased blood sugar
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle spasms
  • Changes in kidney function


  • Swelling of legs
  • Chills
  • Hair loss
  • Itching
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Headache/dizziness
  • Cough


  • Blood clots
  • Heart changes

When should I call the clinic?

Call the clinic if:

  • Fever, chills
  • Arm/leg swelling
  • Bleeding, unusual bruising
  • Cough, shortness of breath, sore throat
  • Signs of an allergic reaction:

            - rash or hives

            - wheezing

            - trouble breathing - call 911

What else do I need to know?

If you are pregnant, could become pregnant, or are breastfeeding, we suggest that you DO NOT take or administer Vorinostat without checking with your health care provider first.

Make sure to drink at least 8 8-ounce cups of water per day while taking Vorinostat so you do not become dehydrated.

Certain medications can increase the side effects of Vorinostat. Please talk with the healthcare provider before starting any new medications or supplements.

You or your child will have regular blood tests while receiving this medication. This is to make sure all of the body’s organs are working properly.

All caregivers should wear gloves when handling urine, stool, and vomit while your child is receiving chemotherapy and for 48 hours afterward. Urine, stool, and vomit can be safely disposed of in septic tanks and the sewer system.

Any clothes or bed linens that are contaminated with urine, stool, or vomit should be washed separately from other laundry in hot water and detergent. Anyone handling the contaminated laundry should wear gloves.

You and your child should know the names of all the medicines he or she is taking. Share this information with anyone involved in your child’s care.

Store all medicines in their original container and away from direct sunlight or heat. Do not store in humid places such as the bathroom. Keep them out of children’s reach, locked up if possible.

If too much OR the wrong chemotherapy medicine is taken, call the oncology clinic right away. If your child is unconscious or has a seizure, call 911.


This is not specific to your child but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call the oncology clinic or pharmacy.

Reviewed by Hem/Onc 12/2016

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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