- What is erlotinib, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for erlotinib?
- Do I need a prescription for erlotinib?
- What are the side effects of erlotinib?
- What is the dosage for erlotinib?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with erlotinib?
- Is erlotinib safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about erlotinib?
What is erlotinib, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
There are more than 1.2 million cases worldwide of lung cancer each year, causing one death every 3 seconds. According to the National Cancer Institute, lung cancer is responsible for nearly 30% of cancer deaths in the US. NSCLC is the most common form of lung cancer and accounts for almost 80% of all the cases.
Many cells, including cancer cells, have receptors on their surfaces for epidermal growth factor (EGF), a protein that is normally produced by the body and that promotes the growth and multiplication of cells. When EGF attaches to epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs), it causes an enzyme called tyrosine kinase to become active within the cells. Tyrosine kinase triggers chemical processes that cause the cells, including cancer cells, to grow, multiply, and spread. Erlotinib attaches to EGFRs, blocking the attachment of EGF and the activation of tyrosine kinase. This mechanism for stopping cancer cells from growing and multiplying is very different from the mechanisms of chemotherapy and hormonal therapy. Erlotinib was approved by the FDA in November of 2004.
What brand names are available for erlotinib?
Do I need a prescription for erlotinib?
What are the side effects of erlotinib?
The most common side effects of erlotinib are:
- loss of appetite,
- weight loss,
- stomach pain,
- shortness of breath,
- mouth sores,
- dry skin,
- itching, and
Any of these can occur in about half of all patients who receive the medicine, but these effects are usually mild. There have been rare reports of serious lung disease, including deaths, in patients receiving erlotinib for treatment of NSCLC or other tumors.
Other important side effects include:
- Liver failure,
- kidney failure,
- increased bleeding rates,
- gastrointestinal perforation, and
- corneal perforation or ulceration.
Quick GuidePancreatic Cancer Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
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