* Vismodegib (Erivedge) has been approved to treat locally advanced basal cell carcinoma and is the first drug approved to treat metastatic basal cell carcinoma.
* Vismodegib can cause severe birth defects, as well as the death of a fetus or embryo. Both men and women taking the drug must use effective contraception.
* The most common adverse effects are muscle spasms, alopecia, an altered or lost sense of taste, weight loss, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, decreased appetite, constipation, arthralgias, and vomiting.
Diane S. Aschenbrenner is the course coordinator for undergraduate pharmacology at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing in Baltimore, MD. She also coordinates Drug Watch: firstname.lastname@example.org.