gefitinib, (Iressa discontinued in the US)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Cancer 101: Cancer Explained

SIDE EFFECTS: About one in one hundred persons receiving gefitinib develop a potentially serious lung condition called interstitial lung disease that causes inflammation within the lung. Therefore, patients taking gefitinib who develop new or worsening cough, fever, or difficulty in breathing should contact their physician immediately.

Eye irritation has been observed in patients receiving gefitinib, and patients who develop the onset of new eye symptoms should contact their physician.

All patients taking gefitinib should seek medical advice promptly if they develop severe or persistent

PRESCRIPTION: Yes.

GENERIC AVAILABLE: No.

PREPARATIONS: Clear capsules of 50 mg.

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

DOSING: Gefitinib is taken by mouth. The dose is 250 mg once daily. The dose is the same for men or women of any age or weight, and gefitinib can be taken with or without food.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Gefitinib may increase the blood-thinning effects of warfarin (Coumadin) and increase the risk of bleeding. Therefore, patients receiving gefitinib and warfarin at the same time should have more frequent testing of the "thinness" of their blood.

Patients who receive drugs that increase an enzyme in the liver called CYP 3A4 that destroys gefitinib (for example, rifampin or phenytoin (Dilantin) may need a higher dose of gefitinib to maintain the effectiveness of gefitinib.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/9/2015

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