Tarceva

Generic Name: Erlotinib

  • What is Tarceva?

    Tarceva is used to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that is localized in the lung or that has spread throughout the body (metastatic) but has not progressed after four cycles of platinum-based first-line chemotherapy.

    Tarceva is also used to treat NSCLC that is localized in the lung or spread throughout the body in patients who have not responded to other types of chemotherapy.

    Additionally, Tarceva is used in combination with gemcitabine to treat advanced pancreatic cancer that cannot be treated surgically or that has spread throughout the body.

  • What is the most important information I should know about Tarceva?

    Some patients taking Tarceva have developed interstitial lung disease (ILD). ILD is a serious and life-threatening condition. The symptoms of ILD are a sudden or worsening cough, or shortness of breath and dry cough.

    Some patients taking Tarceva developed significant kidney or liver problems during therapy. You should have your kidney and liver function monitored throughout therapy with Tarceva. Stay adequately hydrated.

    Some patients receiving Tarceva have developed a gastrointestinal perforation--a hole in the stomach or intestine. This risk is increased if you also take corticosteroids, NSAIDs, taxane-based chemotherapy or have a history of peptic ulcers or diverticulitis.

    Severe, sometimes fatal skin disorders have been reported in some patients receiving Tarceva. Notify your doctor immediately if you have any rash or skin reaction.

    Serious eye disorders have been reported in some patients using Tarceva. Notify your doctor if you experience any eye pain or vision problems.

  • Who should not take Tarceva?

    Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take Tarceva. Women who can get pregnant should take reliable birth control during Tarceva therapy and for 2 weeks after stopping Tarceva.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Tarceva?

    Tell your doctor about your complete medical history, especially liver problems, ulcers or other gastrointestinal bleeding problems, or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    NSCLC

    Adults: The recommended daily dose is 150 milligrams (mg) taken at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating.

    Pancreatic Cancer

    Adults: The recommended daily dose is 100 mg taken at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating, in combination with gemcitabine.

  • How should I take Tarceva?

    Take the prescribed dosage 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating.

  • What should I avoid while taking Tarceva?

    Avoid becoming pregnant while taking Tarceva and use reliable birth control during and for 2 weeks after treatment.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Tarceva?

    If Tarceva is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Tarceva with the following: antacids, atazanavir, carbamazepine, cigarettes, ciprofloxacin, clarithromycin, grapefruit (whole fruit or juice), indinavir, itraconazole, ketoconazole, midazolam, nefazodone, nelfinavir, omeprazole, phenobarbital, phenytoin, ranitidine, rifampicin, rifabutin, rifapentine, ritonavir, saquinavir, St. John's wort, telithromycin, troleandomycin, voriconazole, and warfarin.

  • What are the possible side effects of Tarceva?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: rash, diarrhea, reduced appetite or total adversion to food, fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, weight decrease, infection, fluid retention, fever, constipation, bone pain, inflammation of the mucous lining in the mouth

  • Can I receive Tarceva if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    Tarceva is not recommended if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. This drug may cause harm to your unborn child.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Tarceva?

    Ask your doctor for advice.

  • How should I store Tarceva?

    Store at room temperature.

Meet the Pharmacists

I'm Beth Isaac, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

Check out my latest post on cholesterol drugs.

Meet the Pharmacists

I'm Beth Isaac, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

Check out my latest post on cholesterol drugs.

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