If you’re looking at treatment options for certain types of lung cancer or pancreatic cancer, you may want to learn more about erlotinib (Tarceva).

Erlotinib is a generic prescription drug that’s used in certain adults to treat:

Erlotinib belongs to a group of drugs called kinase inhibitors. It’s available as a tablet that is taken by mouth. Erlotinib is the active drug in this medication. But it’s also available as the brand-name medication Tarceva.

This drug may be used for only certain forms of lung cancer or pancreatic cancer. In some cases, you may need to try other medications before you try erlotinib. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you.

Keep reading for details on erlotinib and cost and how to save money on prescriptions.

Note: For more details on erlotinib, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

The price you pay for erlotinib can vary. Your cost may depend on:

  • your treatment plan
  • your insurance coverage
  • the pharmacy you use

To find out how much you’ll pay for erlotinib, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about erlotinib and cost.

Is the price of erlotinib affected by the strength I’m prescribed (25 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg)?

It’s possible that the price you pay for erlotinib may vary based on the strength of medication you take. In some cases, you may pay more for a 150-milligram (mg) tablet than you would for a 25-mg tablet. But your cost of erlotinib is based on many factors. These include:

  • the pharmacy you use
  • if you have insurance
  • what your insurance coverage is

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to learn the specific difference in cost based on the strength of erlotinib you’re prescribed.

How can I reduce the monthly cost of erlotinib?

You may be able to reduce your monthly cost of erlotinib in a few ways. Getting a 90-day supply of medication instead of a 30-day supply may reduce your cost. Using a mail-order pharmacy may also save you money.

It’s also possible you could lower your cost by taking a different strength of erlotinib. For example, erlotinib is available in 25-mg, 100-mg, or 150-mg tablets. The cost per pill (tablet) may be less for 25-mg tablets than it is for 150-mg tablets.

If you’re concerned about the cost of your medication, see the section “How can I lower my long-term drug costs?” below. If you’re worried about paying for your erlotinib tablets, see the section “Can I get help paying for erlotinib?” also below.

The generic drug erlotinib comes as the brand-name version, Tarceva.

A generic drug has the same active drug as the brand-name version. The generic is considered just as safe and effective as the original drug. And generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

To find out how the costs of Tarceva and erlotinib compare, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.

If you’ve been prescribed erlotinib and you’re interested in using Tarceva instead, talk with your doctor. They may have a preference for one version over the other.

And you’ll need to check with your insurance provider because it may cover only one drug or the other.

If you take erlotinib long term, you may be able to lower your costs in the following ways:

  • Look into getting a 90-day supply of your medication. You may be able to get a 90-day supply of erlotinib if approved by your insurance company. This could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost per pill (tablet) of erlotinib. If you’re interested in getting a 90-day supply of this drug, talk with your doctor or insurance provider.
  • Use a mail-order pharmacy to get your medication. Using a mail-order pharmacy might help lower your cost for erlotinib. And you could get your medication without leaving home. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order drugs. You may also be able to get a 90-day supply of the drug through mail order. If you don’t have health insurance, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to suggest online pharmacy options that could work for you.

If you need help covering the cost of erlotinib or understanding your insurance, check out these websites:

On these sites, you can find insurance information, details on drug assistance programs, and links to savings cards and other services.

If you have questions about how you can pay for erlotinib, you may also want to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

If you still have questions about the cost of erlotinib, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to give you a better idea of what you’ll pay for this drug. But if you have health insurance, you’ll need to talk to your insurance provider to learn the actual cost you’d pay for erlotinib.

Examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor or insurance provider include:

  • Will my dosage of erlotinib change the cost?
  • What other treatment options do I have if erlotinib is too expensive for me?
  • If my doctor changes my strength of erlotinib tablets, how will my cost change?

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.