Skin Cancer Home > Erivedge Uses

If you have basal cell carcinoma, your healthcare provider may prescribe Erivedge. This drug is specifically used when the cancer has come back after surgery, when surgery or radiation is not an option, or when the cancer has spread to other areas in the body. Erivedge is used in adults only, and works by interfering with cancer cell growth and survival.

What Is Erivedge Used For?

Erivedge™ (vismodegib) is a prescription medication approved to treat basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. It is specifically used when:
  • The cancer has come back after surgery
  • Surgery or radiation is not an option
  • The cancer has spread to other parts of the body (metastasized).

Using Erivedge for Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma occurs when cancer cells form in the top layer of skin called the epidermis. It is the most common form of skin cancer. Other types include squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are considered nonmelanoma skin cancer, which differentiates them from melanoma. Although melanoma is less common, it is the most serious type of skin cancer because it is the most likely to spread throughout the body.
Basal cell carcinoma is generally a slow-growing cancer and rarely spreads to other areas of the body. However, if left untreated, it can grow into surrounding tissue, where it can cause damage.
Basal cell carcinoma can occur anywhere, but is usually found on areas of the skin that are routinely exposed to natural or artificial sunlight. Such areas typically include the:
  • Head
  • Face
  • Neck
  • Hands
  • Arms.
Certain people may have a higher risk for developing basal cell carcinoma. This includes people who:
  • Have been exposed to a lot of natural or artificial light
  • Have scars or burns on the skin
  • Have chronic skin inflammation
  • Take immunosuppressant medications
  • Have light-colored skin.
Treatment for most forms of basal cell carcinoma involves some type of surgery. In general, the cancer is removed completely during a biopsy and no further treatment is required. Radiation therapy may be used to treat areas that are difficult to treat with surgery.
Erivedge is an option when radiation and surgery cannot be used to treat the cancer, or when the cancer returns after surgery. It is the first medication approved to treat metastatic basal cell carcinoma. It is also the first drug in the class of medicines known as hedgehog pathway inhibitors.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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