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What we now about Gefitinib

Brand Name(s): Iressa

Generic Name Gefitinib

What are gefitinib tablets?

GEFITINIB (Iressa®) targets a specific protein within cancer cells and stops the cancer cells from growing. Gefitinib is used to treat certain cancers including non-small cell lung cancer. This drug might be used to treat other cancers as well. Generic gefitinib tablets are not available.

What should my health care professional know before I receive Gefitinib?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • liver disease
  • lung fibrosis
  • previous chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • an unusual reaction to gefitinib, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should this medicine be used?

Gefitinib tablets are taken by mouth. You may take it with or without food. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.

Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

Take your missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that one, and skip your missed dose. Do not take extra or double doses.

What drug(s) may interact with gefitinib?

  • amiodarone
  • carbamazepine
  • antiviral medicines for the treatment of HIV or AIDS
  • bosentan
  • certain medicines for fungal infections (such as fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, or voriconazole)
  • certain medicines for high blood pressure
  • clarithromycin
  • dextromethorphan
  • doxercalciferol
  • erythromycin
  • grapefruit juice
  • medicines for depression
  • phenobarbital
  • phenytoin
  • propafenone
  • rifabutin
  • rifampin
  • risperidone
  • St. John's wort or any herbal products containing St. John's wort
  • warfarin

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from receiving Gefitinib?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • eye irritation
  • eye pain
  • fever
  • mouth sores
  • problems related to breathing including shortness of breath or cough
  • severe or persistent diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • decreased appetite
  • diarrhea
  • dry skin
  • itching
  • nausea, vomiting
  • skin rash, including acne
  • weakness
  • weight loss

What should I watch for while taking gefitinib?

Visit your prescriber or health care professional for checks on your progress. You will need to have regular blood checks. The side effects of gefitinib may continue after you finish your treatment; report side effects promptly. If you experience severe or continuing diarrhea, nausea, decreased appetite, or vomiting, contact your health care provider.

Gefitinib has been associated with severe lung adverse reactions. Contact your health care provider if your breathing gets worse and/or you develop any new symptoms such as a cough.

There is a risk of birth defects if gefitinib is given during pregnancy. Women should not become pregnant while being treated with gefitinib. Consult with your health care provider regarding appropriate options for birth control while taking gefitinib.

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.

Store tablets at room temperature between 15 and 30 °C (59 and 86 °F). Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date on the label.


(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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