gefitinib, (Iressa discontinued in the US) (cont.)

Pharmacy Author:
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

PRESCRIBED FOR: Gefitinib is used alone (monotherapy) for the treatment of patients with a certain type of lung cancer (non-small cell lung cancer or NSCLC) that has not responded to chemotherapy. Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women and is the leading cause of deaths from cancer in the US. Lung cancer is divided into two major types: small cell lung cancer and nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC). NSCLC is the most common type, accounting for almost 80% of lung cancers. There are five subtypes of NSCLC, each of which is made up of different kinds of cancer cells. The cancer cells of each type differ in size, shape, and chemical make-up, and grow and spread in different ways. The three most common types of NSCLC are squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma. About one in ten people with NSCLC who receive gefitinib will have a substantial reduction in the size of their cancers, even after other drugs have failed; however, the cancer is not cured.

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

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/9/2015

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