Generic Name: gefitinib (ge FI ti nib)Brand Names: Iressa
Gefitinib is a cancer chemotherapy medication. Gefitinib interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their growth and spread in the body.
Gefitinib is used in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer.
Gefitinib may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.
Gefitinib should only be administered under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider experienced in the use of cancer chemotherapeutic agents.
Serious side effects have been reported with the use of gefitinib including: allergic reactions (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives); lung problems; liver problems; eye problems; severe nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or diarrhea; and others. Talk to your doctor about the possible side effects from treatment with gefitinib.
lung or breathing problems (other than lung cancer).
You may not be able to take gefitinib, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring if you have any of the conditions listed above.Gefitinib is in the FDA pregnancy category D. This means that it is known to be harmful to an unborn baby. Do not use gefitinib without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment. Birth control should be used during treatment with gefitinib. It is not known whether gefitinib passes into breast milk. Do not take gefitinib without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Gefitinib should only be administered under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider experienced in the use of cancer chemotherapeutic agents.Take each dose of gefitinib with a full glass of water.
Gefitinib can be taken with or without food.
Your doctor will determine the correct amount and frequency of treatment with gefitinib depending upon the type of cancer being treated and other factors. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns regarding the treatment schedule.
It is important to take gefitinib regularly to get the most benefit.
Your doctor may want you to have blood tests and other medical evaluations during treatment with gefitinib to monitor progress and side effects.
Your healthcare provider will store gefitinib as directed by the manufacturer. If you are storing gefitinib at home, follow the directions provided by your healthcare provider.
Contact your doctor if you miss a dose of gefitinib.
Symptoms of a gefitinib overdose tend to be similar to side effects caused by the medication, although often more severe.
There are no restrictions on food, beverages, or activity during treatment with gefitinib unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
If you experience any of the following serious side effects from gefitinib, contact your doctor immediately:
an allergic reaction (including difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
lung problems (difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, increased coughing, fever, or chest pain);
severe or persistent nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or diarrhea; or
eye pain or irritation.
Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue taking gefitinib and talk to your doctor if you experience:
mild to moderate nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or diarrhea;
skin rash, dryness, itching, or acne; or
Other side effects have also been reported. Discuss with your doctor any side effect that occurs during treatment with gefitinib. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Usual Adult Dose for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer:
250 mg orally with or without food
Before taking gefitinib, tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane);
phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek);
itraconazole (Sporanox); or
a stomach acid reducer such as cimetidine (Tagamet, Tagamet HB), ranitidine (Zantac, Zantac 75), esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec), and others.
You may not be able to take gefitinib, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring if you are taking any of the medicines listed above.
Many other drugs may interact with gefitinib. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any other prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products.