Commonly used brand name(s):
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antineoplastic Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor
Erlotinib belongs to the group of medicines called antineoplastics. It is used to treat non-small cell lung cancer after the failure of other chemotherapy treatment. It is also used together with another medicine called gemcitabine (e.g., Gemzar®) to treat cancer of the pancreas.
erlotinib is available only with your doctor's prescription.
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For erlotinib, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to erlotinib or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of erlotinib in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of erlotinib in the elderly.
|All Trimesters||D||Studies in pregnant women have demonstrated a risk to the fetus. However, the benefits of therapy in a life threatening situation or a serious disease, may outweigh the potential risk.|
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Using erlotinib with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Using erlotinib with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of erlotinib. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving erlotinib, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
It is important that you take erlotinib one hour before or at least two hours after the ingestion of food.
Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you are using erlotinib.
Avoid smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products while you are using erlotinib.
The dose of erlotinib will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of erlotinib. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
If you miss a dose of erlotinib, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure erlotinib is working properly. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Using erlotinib while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
It is important that you talk to your doctor right away if you have severe or continuing diarrhea, nausea, loss of appetite, or vomiting.
Call your doctor right away if you have unexplained shortness of breath, cough, and fever that comes on suddenly.
Check with your doctor right away if you have bloody or black, tarry stools; severe stomach pain; or vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds. These could be symptoms of a serious stomach or bowel problem.
Liver problems may occur while you are using erlotinib. Stop using erlotinib and check with your doctor right away if you are having more than one of these symptoms: abdominal pain or tenderness; clay-colored stools; dark urine; decreased appetite; fever; headache; itching; loss of appetite; skin rash; swelling of the feet or lower legs; unusual tiredness or weakness; or yellow eyes or skin.
Serious skin reactions can occur with erlotinib. Check with your doctor right away if you have blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin; red skin lesions; severe acne or skin rash; sores or ulcers on the skin; or fever or chills while you are using erlotinib.
Check with your doctor immediately if blurred vision, difficulty in reading, any other change in vision, or eye pain or irritation occurs during or after treatment. Your doctor may want you to have your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor).
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal (St. John's wort) or vitamin supplements.
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:More common
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:More common
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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