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Gefitinib oral
GEFITINIB - ORAL

Important Note

The following information is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. It should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. Consult your healthcare professional before using this drug.

GEFITINIB - ORAL

(geh-FIT-ih-nib)

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Iressa

Uses

This medication is used alone to treat lung cancer after other cancer chemotherapy treatments have not been successful. It is a cancer chemotherapy drug which works by blocking a certain protein (an enzyme called tyrosine kinase) which may help cancer grow and spread.

How To Use

Take gefitinib by mouth once daily, with or without food, or as directed. Medications which reduce or completely block stomach acid (e.g., proton pump inhibitors/PPIs, H2 blockers, antacids) may decrease the absorption of gefitinib. This could decrease the effectiveness of gefitinib. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any of these medications. Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same time each day.

Side Effects

Diarrhea, rash, acne, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite or unusual weakness may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist immediately. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: eye irritation/pain, swelling of the ankles/feet. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these highly unlikely but very serious side effects occur: stomach/abdominal pain, extreme fatigue, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin. Gefitinib may cause rare (possibly fatal) lung disease (interstitial lung disease-ILD). Tell your doctor immediately if you develop trouble breathing, cough or fever. If you have persistent diarrhea or skin rashes contact your doctor. Your doctor may temporarily stop gefitinib (for up to 14 days) which may help reverse those side effects. Treatment is then resumed with the same dosage. An allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: severe rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, trouble breathing. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Precautions

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: lung disease (e.g., pulmonary fibrosis), severe kidney disease, any allergies. Gefitinib is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It may cause fetal harm. Consult your doctor for more details. It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Due to the potential risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using gefitinib is not recommended.

Drug Interactions

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription products you may use, especially of: "blood thinners" (warfarin), drugs which reduce stomach acid (e.g., ranitidine, cimetidine, famotidine, omeprazole, lansoprazole, rabeprazole), certain liver enzyme inhibitors (CYP 3A4 inhibitors such as ketoconazole, itraconazole, erythromycin, clarithromycin). Some liver enzyme inducer medications such as rifamycins (e.g., rifampin, rifabutin), St. John's wort or phenytoin will stimulate certain liver enzymes (CYP 3A4). Your dosage of gefitinib may need to be increased if you are using such medications. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details. Do not start or stop any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval.

Overdose

If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately. Symptoms of overdose may include: severe/persistent diarrhea, severe skin rash.

Notes

Do not share this medication with others. Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., liver function tests) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

Storage

Store at room temperature between 68 and 77 degrees F (20-25 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.