erlotinib, Tarceva (cont.)

Pharmacy Author:
Medical Editor:

SIDE EFFECTS: The most common side effects of erlotinib are:

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.

GENERIC: No

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

PREPARATIONS: Tablets: 25, 100, and 150 mg

STORAGE: Erlotinib should be stored at room temperature, 15 C - 30 C (59 F - 86 F).

DOSING: The usual dose of erlotinib is 150 mg daily for NSCLC and 100 mg daily for pancreatic cancer. Erlotinib should be taken on an empty stomach at least one hour before or two hours after eating because food may reduce the absorption of erlotinib.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: CYP3A4 is an enzyme in the liver that breaks-down and helps to eliminate erlotinib from the body. Drugs that inhibit CYP3A4 can result in high levels of erlotinib in the body, and the high levels can result in toxicity from erlotinib. Such drugs include atazanavir (Reyataz), clarithromycin (Biaxin), indinavir (Crixivan), itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral), nefazodone (Serzone), nelfinavir (Viracept), ritonavir (Norvir), saquinavir (Invirase; Fortovase), telithromycin (Ketek), and voriconazole (VFEND). In patients receiving these drugs, a lower dose of erlotinib may be needed to prevent toxicity.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/21/2015


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