If you have a certain type of lung cancer, your doctor might suggest Tagrisso (osimertinib) as a treatment option for you. Along with other questions you may have about the drug, you could be wondering about its side effects.

Tagrisso is a prescription medication that’s used to treat certain types of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in adults. Your doctor may do genetic testing of your NSCLC to see if this drug might be a treatment option for you. Or they may recommend it as a treatment after you’ve had a lung tumor surgically removed.

Tagrisso comes as a tablet that you take by mouth. If Tagrisso works for you, it’s likely you’ll take it long term.

For more information about Tagrisso, including details about its uses, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Like other drugs, Tagrisso can cause mild or serious side effects. Keep reading to learn more.

Some people may have mild or serious side effects during their Tagrisso treatment. Examples of a few of Tagrisso’s commonly reported side effects include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

Tagrisso may cause mild side effects in some people. Examples of mild side effects that have been reported with Tagrisso include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

In most cases, these side effects should be temporary. And some may be easily managed, too. But if you have any symptoms that are ongoing or that bother you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. And don’t stop using Tagrisso unless your doctor recommends it.

Tagrisso may cause mild side effects other than the ones listed above. See the Tagrisso prescribing information for details.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks side effects of the medication. If you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Tagrisso, visit MedWatch.

Although less common than mild side effects, Tagrisso may cause serious side effects to occur as well. Serious side effects that have been reported with Tagrisso include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.
† An allergic reaction is possible after using Tagrisso. But it’s not clear whether this side effect occurred in studies.

If you develop serious side effects while taking Tagrisso, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Get answers to some frequently asked questions about Tagrisso’s side effects.

Does Tagrisso cause any long-term side effects?

Yes, it’s possible for Tagrisso to cause long-term side effects. Although rare, some long-term side effects may continue even after you stop taking Tagrisso.

Some examples of long-term side effects include:

If you’re concerned about long-term side effects from taking Tagrisso, talk with your doctor about ways to prevent them.

Will my risk of side effects from Tagrisso increase if I take the 80-mg tablets instead of the 40-mg tablets?

It’s possible that you may have an increased risk of side effects from a higher dose of Tagrisso than a lower dose. But each person’s body will react to the medication differently.

Throughout your treatment with Tagrisso, monitor yourself for side effects. If you experience anything that’s bothersome to you, tell your doctor. If you have side effects and you’re taking the 80-milligram (mg) dose, they may recommend decreasing your dose to 40 mg.

How long will Tagrisso side effects last?

It depends on which side effects you’re experiencing. For example, some side effects may get better over time as you continue taking the medication. An example is diarrhea.

But other side effects, such as interstitial lung disease or cardiomyopathy, may continue even after you stop taking Tagrisso.

If you’re concerned about side effects from taking Tagrisso, talk with your doctor. They can discuss the best ways to prevent these side effects or to treat them if they occur.

Learn more about some of the side effects Tagrisso may cause.

Skin-related side effects, such as rash

You may develop skin-related side effects, such as a rash, while taking Tagrisso. These skin reactions are typically mild, but sometimes they may be serious. Serious skin reactions that can occur include severe skin rashes, such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome, which are rare but life threatening.

It’s also possible to develop swelling of blood vessels under your skin while taking Tagrisso. This may lead to symptoms such as bruising, redness, or discoloration of your skin.

Other symptoms of skin-related side effects besides rash include:

  • fever
  • fatigue (low energy)
  • blistering
  • skin pain

What might help

During your treatment with Tagrisso, monitor yourself for skin-related side effects that may occur. If you have any of the symptoms listed above, see a doctor right away, as the reaction may be serious.

If you notice any skin changes, such as a rash or bruising, tell your doctor. You could be experiencing a mild side effect that may not need treatment.

Hair loss

Tagrisso may cause hair loss. Although uncommon, hair loss did occur in studies of people taking the drug.

What might help

If you have hair loss while taking Tagrisso, or have concerns about this side effect, talk with your doctor. They may be able to recommend ways to decrease hair loss. Or they may suggest using a medication to prevent this side effect from occurring.

Mouth sores

You may have mouth sores from taking Tagrisso. This side effect can result in areas of your mouth becoming swollen or painful, or it may cause open sores to form. In studies of people taking Tagrisso, mouth sores were a common side effect.

What might help

If you develop mouth sores from taking Tagrisso, talk with your doctor. They may be able to recommend ways to decrease the pain that you feel from the sores. For example, your doctor may suggest taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen). Or they may recommend ointments or other treatments that coat your sores to ease pain.

Allergic reaction

Like most drugs, Tagrisso can cause an allergic reaction in some people. But it’s not clear whether this side effect occurred in studies.

Symptoms can be mild or serious and can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe

What might help

If you have mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. To manage your symptoms, they may suggest an over-the-counter antihistamine you take by mouth, such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine). Or they may recommend a product you apply to your skin, such as hydrocortisone cream.

If your doctor confirms you had a mild allergic reaction to Tagrisso, they’ll decide if you should continue using it.

If you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as swelling or trouble breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms could be life threatening and require immediate medical care.

If your doctor confirms you had a serious allergic reaction to Tagrisso, they may have you switch to a different treatment.

Keeping track of side effects

During your Tagrisso treatment, consider keeping notes on any side effects you’re having. Then, you can share this information with your doctor. This is especially helpful to do when you first start taking new drugs or using a combination of treatments.

Your side effect notes can include things such as:

  • what dose of drug you were taking when you had the side effect
  • how soon after starting that dose you had the side effect
  • what your symptoms were from the side effect
  • how it affected your daily activities
  • what other medications you were also taking
  • any other information you feel is important

Keeping notes and sharing them with your doctor will help your doctor learn more about how Tagrisso affects you. And your doctor can use this information to adjust your treatment plan if needed.

Tagrisso may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Tagrisso. The list below includes factors to consider.

Heart conditions, such as long QT syndrome. If you have any heart conditions, such as long QT syndrome, tell your doctor before starting Tagrisso. Tagrisso may cause heart conditions to occur. If you already have a heart condition, taking this medication can make your condition worse. In this case, your doctor may recommend a different treatment for your non-small cell lung cancer.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Tagrisso or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Tagrisso. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.

Lung problems. If you have any lung problems, taking Tagrisso can make your lung condition worse. As well, Tagrisso can cause interstitial lung disease, which may lead to scarring and swelling of the lungs. Before starting Tagrisso treatment, tell your doctor about any lung problems that you have.

Eye problems. If you have any eye conditions, taking Tagrisso may make your condition worse. This medication can also cause an eye condition called keratitis. Before you start taking Tagrisso, discuss any eye problems that you have with your doctor.

Electrolyte disorders. If you have any electrolyte disorders, such as those that affect sodium, calcium, potassium, or magnesium levels, tell your doctor before starting Tagrisso. Electrolyte disorders may increase the risk of long QT syndrome. This medication can also increase the risk of this syndrome, so taking Tagrisso may increase your risk even further. Talk with your doctor about whether Tagrisso may be a safe treatment option for you.

Alcohol use and Tagrisso

There are no known interactions between alcohol and Tagrisso. If you’d like to drink alcohol during Tagrisso treatment, talk with your doctor. They can let you know how much may be safe for you to drink.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Tagrisso

It’s not known if Tagrisso may be safe to take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Currently, there haven’t been any studies to determine what effects the drug may cause in someone who’s pregnant or breastfeeding.

Due to the way that Tagrisso works, it’s believed that the drug can cause fetal harm or even death if taken during pregnancy.

If you can become pregnant, your doctor will likely give you a pregnancy test before you start taking Tagrisso. They’ll also likely recommend that you use birth control throughout Tagrisso treatment and for at least 6 weeks after stopping treatment.

If you have a partner who can become pregnant, it’s recommended that you use birth control during Tagrisso treatment. You’ll need to continue using birth control for 4 months after you stop taking the drug.

Your doctor will also likely recommend that you not breastfeed while taking Tagrisso and for at least 2 weeks after you end treatment.

If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor before you start taking Tagrisso. Also talk with them if you’re breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed.

In many cases, side effects from Tagrisso are mild. But serious side effects are also possible. Knowing what side effects may occur will help you monitor for them.

Before you start taking Tagrisso, discuss any questions about side effects you may have with your doctor. Here are some questions you may wish to ask:

  • Am I at increased risk of side effects based on my type of lung cancer?
  • What should I do if I become pregnant while taking Tagrisso?
  • If I experience side effects from this medication, can my dose be decreased?
  • Do the other medications that I take increase my risk of side effects?

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.