Generic Name: erlotinib, Oral tablet

Tarceva

All Brands

  • Tarceva
SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for erlotinib

Oral tablet
1
ERLOTINIB (er LOE ti nib) is a chemotherapy drug. It targets a specific protein within cancer cells and stops the cancer cells from growing. This medicine is used to treat cancers including non-small cell lung cancer and pancreatic cancer.
2 3 4
Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any of these conditions.
5
Know what to watch for and get tips for reducing your risks while taking this drug.
SECTION 2 of 4

erlotinib Side Effects

Oral tablet

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • breathing problems
  • eye irritation
  • eye pain
  • fever
  • mouth sores
  • severe or persistent diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite
  • signs and symptoms of bleeding such as bloody or black, tarry stools; red or dark-brown urine; spitting up blood or brown material that looks like coffee grounds; red spots on the skin; unusual bruising or bleeding from the eye, gums, or nose

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • acne
  • diarrhea
  • dry skin
  • itching
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • weak or tired
  • weight loss
SECTION 3 of 4

erlotinib May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet
  • amiodarone
  • carbamazepine
  • ciprofloxacin
  • antiviral medicines for HIV or AIDS
  • bosentan
  • certain medicines for blood pressure
  • certain medicines for cholesterol like atorvastatin, lovastatin, and simvastatin
  • clarithromycin
  • erythromycin
  • grapefruit juice
  • medicines for depression
  • medicines for fungal infections like fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, or voriconazole
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen)
  • omeprazole
  • phenobarbital
  • phenytoin
  • rifabutin
  • rifampin
  • rifapentine
  • St. John's wort
  • warfarin
SECTION 4 of 4

How to Use erlotinib

Oral tablet

Take erlotinib tablets by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take this medicine on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after food. Do not take with food. Taking this drug with food may increase your chance of developing side effects. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • liver disease
  • lung fibrosis
  • previous or ongoing radiation therapy
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to erlotinib, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding
What if I miss a dose?

Take your missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that one, and skip your missed dose. Do not take extra or double doses.

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor for regular check ups. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment unless your doctor tells you to stop. You will need blood work done while you are taking this medicine.

If you experience any of the following, contact your health care provider: eye irritation; severe or continuing diarrhea, nausea, decreased appetite, or vomiting; or if your breathing gets worse or you develop shortness of breath or cough.

If you smoke cigarettes, you should stop smoking. The effectiveness of this drug is reduced by cigarette smoking. If you stop smoking during treatment, be sure to inform your doctor of this change.

Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine.

Where should I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

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Last Updated: January 29, 2014

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