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Sutent and High Blood Pressure

pjune127's picture
pjune127
Posts: 127
Joined: Dec 2011

I have been on Sutent for 6 months. I take 37.5 mg for two weeks and then I am off one week. I have been on some type of blood pressure medicine for the past 30 years. I have been taking Toprol 50 mg and Norvasc 5 mg since my surgery (complete nephrectomy of right kidney in July 2011) and my blood pressure has been perfect. Over the last week, I noted that my pressure was up significantly (160/96) and my oncologist recommended I call my internist who has been working with my pressures for the last 20 years. My internist doubled my dose of Norvasc, but I have seen no improvement. Anyone else have this issue? I need to know if anyone has had to stop taking Sutent due to blood pressure. That would really bum me out, since Sutent seems to really be working for me (regression and resolution of mets in the lungs). Next scan is next week and hoping for more good results.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

I believe the answer is yes. As you'll know, it is a known side-effect that needs to be monitored for. There will doubtless be ways of handling the situation.

It's nice to hear that the Sutent is achieving such good results - please keep us posted on the scan results next week. It may be that a longer break from Sutent will do the trick without losing the benefit it's giving you. If not, perhaps the hypertension medication can be changed, instead of doubled?

Have you exploited fully all the additional ways of regulating your BP, such as dietary changes, exercise, relaxation techniques, meditation etc? If not, it might be worth taking advice on these approaches to help you to stay on the Sutent.

When you're at the page here that lists the discussion threads, look at the top right area of the page, where there is a search facility. Type in Sutent and search and you'll find lots of helpful postings and you can do the same for blood pressure. This should yield a lot of pointers for you.

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

pjune,

Welcome to the club that nobody (sane anyway) wants to join. Tex and mike are taking good care of you as they have me and many others. There are many stories here of people on Sutent, a bit of reading may help you as well.

Good luck and Godspeed,

Gary

PS: Hey Tex, we have another pretty lady on board, we're really getting outnumbered.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Gary, I'll try not to resemble that remark and I notice you've always had one close at hand.

MikeK703's picture
MikeK703
Posts: 235
Joined: Sep 2010

I'm not on Sutent, but I do know what's its like to have high blood pressure and how hard it can be to control it. Adding to Tex's advice about diet, sodium can severely damage your remaining kidney so I would encourage you to try a strict low sodium diet if you aren't already on one. I was on blood pressure medication for about 12 years. After my nephrectomy I was having higher than my normal blood pressure readings even with the medication. I decided to try a low-sodium diet and it worked so well that the doctor weaned me off of the medication and removed hypertension from my records. I never believed I could get it lower with a low-sodium diet. Besides, it was too easy to rely on the pills and eat what I wanted, which was usually high-sodium junk food. The tricks to making it work are: (1) severely limit eating out, especially in fast food restaurants (2) read the labels in the supermarket and buy products that are low sodium (there are surprisingly a good number of them) (3) avoid the salt shaker. My blood pressure went up higher than yours a number of times after surgery (once I went to the emergency room because of it) until I put my nose to the grindstone. Now, my blood pressure sometimes gets so low I have to add sodium to get it back up. So if you can lower your BP it might help with the Sutent side effects as well as protect your remaining kidney.
Good luck,
Mike

pjune127's picture
pjune127
Posts: 127
Joined: Dec 2011

Hypertension runs in my family, so I have never used very much salt. I don't cook with it and never add it to foods (unlike my husband who salts everything before he even tastes it!) Before my diagnosis, one of my symptoms was extremely LOW blood pressure, along with dizziness, and severe anemia. I do admit to going out to eat a good bit, but if something is too salty, I usually won't eat it. In addition, the Sutent has totally whacked out my sense of taste, and salty things taste bitter and not good at all. About the only taste buds I have working are the ones for sweet things, so Oreos and chocolate are pretty tasty! :) My internist did say he really wants to change my meds, but was looking for a quick fix when he told me to double the norvasc. I guess my next step will be to report back to him that that strategy did not work.

Thanks for your response, Mike. It's really nice to know there are people out there listening. I do think my husband gets tired of listening to me worry and do the "what if" thing with him. How long has it been since your diagnosis and what are you doing as far as treatment?

MikeK703's picture
MikeK703
Posts: 235
Joined: Sep 2010

Hi,
Your husband and I are a lot alike. I would always grab for the salt shaker before tasting my meal.
Sorry to hear about your taste bud problem. But relying on taste to determine if something is too salty is not the way to go anyway. There are things that have a lot, and I mean a lot, of sodium that you would never imagine. I never knew how high in sodium bread products were. Bread or bagels don't taste salty to me but they've got plenty of sodium. Store bought and restaurant pizza is unbelievably high. My wife now makes a low-sodium pizzza and I've grown to love it
I was diagnosed in June 2010; had surgery in August. I was lucky in that it was caught early. Stage 1, Grade 2. No evident spread. I am not undergoing any treatment. I had two followups during the first year and now I am on an annual schedule. Have had a couple of chest x-rays, an ultrasound, and plenty of blood tests. Having only kidney at my age has put me in the Stage 3 chronic kidney cancer disease category, but my creatinine and GFR are stable. So far so good. I think I'm due for a CT with contrast on my next visit. I wish you success with your treatment.
Regards,
Mike

jam66
Posts: 55
Joined: Jun 2011

Hi pJune,
I'm on month 5 here, 37.5 mg. 4 weeks on, 2 weeks off. My blood pressure did get high while I was taking the 50 mg dose. I remember my oncologist saying that some say that's a sign that the medicine is working. :)
My blood pressure has been fine while on the 37.5. I am careful about food, eating a plant based diet and avoiding any and all processed foods. And I know what you mean about the taste buds! Oh, how I miss my spices! Ah well....
Good luck, I'm sure there's a medication out there that will help.

Jennifer.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

I hope you'll keep telling people about your experience Mike. I'm sure few people realise just how significant a factor salt in their diet is. (I'll need to remember it myself in advance of pre-assessment and next op.) For a while I've been taking and recording my heart rate and BP at least once a day with 3 different sphygmomanometers - one radial and two brachial with interesting results and patterns. What is your pulse pressure normally these days?

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1653
Joined: Jan 2010

For those of us out there including myself, with high blood pressure or high blood presure controlled by medicine, be aware that high blood pressure increses your risk for Chronic Kidney Disease as does having only one kidney. I now have a nephrologist rather than my GP primarily monitoring my blood pressure as they are much more familiar with the effects of high blood pressure on your remaining kidney. The result of continued high blood pressure with only one kidney can be loss of kidney function, but is much more likely to increase our risk of heart attack or strokes. In other words our kidney cancer even where the cancer has been resolved poses threats to our cardiac system as well.

Icemantoo

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