Tarceva (Erlotinib Hydrochloride)
Tarceva (erlotinib) Dosage and Side Effects
TARCEVA is used to treat advanced lung cancer. It is also sometimes used, along with other therapies, to treat advanced pancreatic cancer.
Warnings and Precautions
Before taking TARCEVA, tell your doctor if you have, or have ever had:
- Lung disease or infection
- Stomach ulcers
- Eye problems
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Diverticular disease (a condition in which abnormal pouches form in the large intestines and may become inflamed)
- Allergies to medicines
Also, let your doctor know if you've recently been treated with radiation or chemotherapy.
Smoking tobacco may reduce the effectiveness of TARCEVA. Let your doctor know if you smoke or use tobacco products before taking this medicine.
TARCEVA may cause a skin rash or other skin problems. Exposure to sunlight may increase your odds of developing a rash.
Avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to sunlight while taking TARCEVA. Wear protective clothing, sunscreen, and sunglasses while outdoors.
Also, avoid using harsh skin products that may cause irritation or dryness.
Let your healthcare provider know you're taking TARCEVA before having any surgery, including a dental procedure.
TARCEVA can pass into bodily fluids. You or your caregiver should wear rubber gloves when cleaning up urine, feces, vomit, or other bodily fluids from anyone who takes the drug.
Also, wash your hands before and after removing the gloves.
Continue to take TARCEVA even if you feel well. Don't stop taking this drug without talking to your doctor.
Your doctor will most likely perform tests to monitor your body's response to TARCEVA. Keep all appointments with your doctor and laboratory.
Pregnancy and TARCEVA
TARCEVA may harm an unborn baby. Don't take this medicine if you're pregnant.
Use an effective form of birth control while taking this drug, and for at least two weeks after your treatment ends.
Because TARCEVA can be absorbed through the skin, women who are pregnant or may become pregnant shouldn't handle the medicine.
It's not known whether TARCEVA passes into breast milk. Don't breastfeed while taking this drug.
Common Side Effects of TARCEVA
Tell your doctor if any of the following side effects become severe or don't go away:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Heartburn or gas
- Stomach pains
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
- Mouth sores
- Bone or muscle pain
- Hair loss
- Changes in the appearance of hair or nails
- Darkening of the skin
- Anxiety or depression
- Numbness, burning, or tingling of the hands or feet
- Swelling of the arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
Serious Side Effects of TARCEVA
Call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following serious side effects:
- Blistering, dry, peeling, itching, burning, or cracked skin
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath
- Dry, painful, irritated, or red eyes
- Blurred vision
- Growth of eyelashes inside the eyelid
- Chest pain or pressure
- Pain in the arms, neck, or upper back
- Irregular, rapid, or pounding heartbeat
- Slow or difficult speech
- Problems with balance
- Faintness or dizziness
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Numbness or weakness in an arm or leg
- Black, tarry, or bloody stools
- Vomit that's bloody or looks like coffee grounds
- Dry mouth
- Sunken eyes
- Dark-colored urine
- Decreased urination
- Rapid weight gain
- Yellow or pale skin
- Redness, pain, warmth, tenderness, or swelling in one leg
- Severe or ongoing vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea
- Signs of an allergic reaction (may include hives, rash, itching, chest tightness, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat)
Interactions with this medication
Tell your doctor about all prescription, non-prescription, illegal, recreational, herbal, nutritional, or dietary drugs you're taking, especially those listed in the TARCEVA Warnings section above, or any of the following:
- Angiogenesis inhibitors such as Avastin (bevacizumab)
- Biaxin (clarithromycin)
- Blood thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin)
- Certain antifungals such as Nizoral (ketoconazole), Sporanox (itraconazole) or Vfend (voriconazole)
- Cipro (ciprofloxacin)
- Dilantin (phenytoin)
- H2 blockers such as Axid (nizatidine), Pepcid (famotidine), Tagamet (cimetidine), or Zantac (ranitidine)
- HIV protease inhibitors such as Crixivan (indinavir), Fortovase and Invirase (saquinavir), Norvir (ritonavir), Reyataz (atazanavir), or Viracept (nelfinavir)
- Ketek (telithromycin)
- Luminal and Solfoton (phenobarbital)
- Medications for acne such as benzoyl peroxide (found in Epiduo, BenzaClin, Benzamycin, and others)
- Mycobutin (rifabutin)
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Advil and Motrin (ibuprofen) or Aleve and Naprosyn (naproxen)
- Oral steroids such as Decadron, Dexone (dexamethasone), Deltasone (prednisone), or Medrol (methylprednisolone)
- Proton pump inhibitors such as AcipHex (rabeprazole), Nexium (esomeprazole), Prevacid (lansoprazole), Prilosec (omeprazole), or Protonix (pantoprazole)
- Rifadin and Rimactane (rifampin)
- St. John's wort
- Taxane medications for cancer such as Taxotere (docetaxel) or Abraxane and Taxol (paclitaxel)
- Tegretol (carbamazepine)
- Troleandomycin (TAO)
- Versed (midazolam)
TARCEVA and Grapefruit
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may affect how TARCEVA works in your body.
Avoid consuming grapefruit during your treatment.
TARCEVA and Alcohol
Alcohol may increase the severity of certain side effects of TARCEVA.
Avoid drinking alcohol while taking this medicine.
Proper Use of this medication
Try to take the medicine around the same time each day.
Your doctor may lower your dose of TARCEVA during your treatment.
Drink plenty of water while taking TARCEVA to avoid dehydration.
Follow the instructions on your prescription label carefully. Don't take more or less TARCEVA than is recommended.
Symptoms of a TARCEVA overdose may include a severe skin rash or severe diarrhea.
If you suspect an overdose, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately.
Missed Dose of TARCEVA
If you miss a dose of TARCEVA, take it as soon as you remember, but be sure to take it on an empty stomach.
Skip your missed dose if it's almost time for your next scheduled dose.
Don't take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
Other related products
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.