Erlotinib Tarceva

Erlotinib Tarceva

Erlotinib (Tarceva) is used with advanced cases of non-small cell lung cancer. The drug is a small molecule tyrosine-kinase inhibitor.  It blocks cell signalling (triggered by epidermal growth factor receptors) thereby reducing cell proliferation. Its other important advantage is that it improves quality of life reducing shortness of breath, pain and coughing in advanced lung cancer cases. It is taken in tablet form. It is also sometimes used with other medications to treat pancreatic cancer. 

Side effects can include: skin rashes, diarrhoea, tiredness, conjunctivitis, sore mouth, possible gastro-intestinal bleeding.  

Important considerations:

* Do not take antacids before during or after (for up to 3 hours) when taking Tarceva.

* Avoid exposure to sunshine or tanning beds

* Avoid skin products that can cause dryness, especially alcohol-based products

* Avoid smoking - it can make Tarceva less effective

* Avoid grapefruit juice and grapefruit products which may interact with Tarceva.

You should tell your Doctor if you are taking seizure drugs, fitting drugs, St John’s Wort, steroids, anti-depressants, barbiturates, anti-fungal medicines, heart medicines and NSAIDS. This list is not complete and you should always consult your doctor before taking any other drugs.


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