If you have a certain kind of breast cancer, your doctor might suggest Tykerb as a treatment option. It’s a prescription drug used to treat the following kinds of breast cancer in adults:

The active ingredient in Tykerb is lapatinib. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) Tykerb belongs to a group of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Tykerb comes as a tablet that you swallow.

This article describes the dosages of Tykerb, as well as its strength and how to take it. To learn more about Tykerb, see this in-depth article.

Note: The charts below highlight the basics of Tykerb’s dosage. Read on for more detail.

ConditionTypical daily dosage
HER2-positive breast cancer that’s advanced or metastatic1,250 milligrams (mg)
HER2-positive breast cancer that’s HR-positive and metastatic1,500 mg

Please keep in mind that this article covers Tykerb’s standard dosage schedule, which is provided by the drug’s manufacturer. But always follow the dosing instructions your doctor prescribes.

Below is information about Tykerb’s standard dosage.

What is Tykerb’s form?

Tykerb comes as a tablet that you swallow.

What strength does Tykerb come in?

Tykerb comes in one strength of 250 milligrams (mg).

What are the usual dosages of Tykerb?

Your doctor will likely start you on the recommended starting dose based on your condition. They’ll ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The information below describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. But be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Dosage for HER2-positive advanced or metastatic breast cancer

When used for advanced or metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer that’s been treated before, Tykerb is usually taken on a 21-day treatment cycle. For this use, Tykerb is taken with the chemotherapy drug Xeloda (capecitabine).

On days 1 to 21, you’ll likely take 1,250 mg Tykerb once per day. This means you’ll take five tablets at the same time.

On days 1 to 14, you’ll also take 2,000 mg of Xeloda per meters squared (mg/m2) of your body surface area. (Your doctor will calculate your dose for you.) This daily dosage of Xeloda is split into two doses taken at least 12 hours apart.

After 21 days, the cycle is typically repeated until your cancer worsens or you need to stop treatment because of negative side effects.

You should take your Tykerb dose at least 1 hour before or 1 hour after a meal. Xeloda tablets should be either taken with food or within 30 minutes after eating a meal.

Dosage for HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer that’s also HR-positive

Tykerb is taken once per day to treat HER2-positive breast cancer that’s hormone-receptor-positive (HR-positive) and metastatic. For this purpose, the Tykerb dosage is 1,500 mg taken once per day. This means you’ll take six tablets at the same time.

For this use, you’ll also take Femara (letrozole) with Tykerb every day of your treatment. The typical dosage of Femara is 2.5 mg (one tablet) taken once per day.

Is Tykerb used long term?

Yes, Tykerb is usually taken as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that it’s safe and effective for your condition, you’ll likely take it long term. Or in some cases, you’ll take it until your cancer gets worse or side effects become too severe.

Dosage adjustments

If you have certain medical conditions, such as liver problems, your doctor may need to adjust your dosage of Tykerb.

Tykerb has a boxed warning for severe liver damage. If you have liver problems, your doctor may start you on a lower dose of Tykerb, or they may recommend a different treatment for you.

To learn more about this warning, see the “Boxed warning” section at the beginning of this article.

The dosage of Tykerb you’re prescribed may depend on several factors. These include:

  • the type of the condition you’re using the drug to treat
  • other conditions you may have (see “Dosage adjustments” just above)
  • other drugs you may be taking while using Tykerb (see this article for more information)
  • side effects you may have from taking Tykerb

Tykerb is a tablet that’s swallowed. You’ll take one dose per day. Tykerb should be taken at least 1 hour before or 1 hour after a meal.

If you have trouble swallowing tablets, this article has tips that might help.

For information on the expiration, storage, and disposal of Tykerb, see this article.

Accessible drug containers and labels

If you find it hard to read the prescription label on your medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies provide medication labels that:

  • have large print or use braille
  • feature a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text to audio

Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend pharmacies that offer these accessibility features if your current pharmacy doesn’t.

If you have trouble opening medication bottles, let your pharmacist know. They may be able to supply Tykerb in an easy-open container. They may also have tips to help make it simpler to open the drug’s container.

If you miss a dose of Tykerb, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at its regular time the next day. You should not take two doses at once to make up for a missed dose. Doing so can raise your risk of side effects.

If you need help remembering to take your dose of Tykerb on time, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or downloading a reminder app on your phone.

Do not take more Tykerb than your doctor prescribes, as this can lead to serious side effects.

Symptoms of overdose

Symptoms caused by an overdose of Tykerb may include:

  • fast heart rate
  • sore scalp
  • swelling of mucous membranes (moist linings of body areas such as the stomach or lungs)
  • side effects of Tykerb that may be worse than usual*

* To learn about Tykerb’s side effects, see this article.

What to do in case you take too much Tykerb

Call your doctor right away if you think you’ve taken too much Tykerb. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, call 911 (or your local emergency number) immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.

The sections above describe the usual dosages provided by the drug’s manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Tykerb for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.

Remember, you should not change your dosage of Tykerb without your doctor’s recommendation. Only take Tykerb exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your current dosage.

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

  • Should my dosage change if Tykerb isn’t working well enough for me?
  • Does my dosage of Tykerb need to change if I’m taking other drugs along with it?
  • Would a different dosage increase or decrease my risk of side effects from Tykerb?
  • If I have a history of liver problems or heart problems, can I take Tykerb?

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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.