Although rare (about 1%.), cases of interstitial lung disease (or diffuse
parenchymal lung disease) have been observed in cancer patients treated with
Gefitinib. Common lungs problems include pneumonia, pneumonitis and alveolitis which may be associated with
cough or low-grade fever, often becoming severe within a short time and requiring
Gefitinib is not recommended in pregnant women as it may cause fetal harm. Cautious is highly recommended
patients having liver disease or hepatotoxicity.
Indications: Gefitinib is a lung cancer fighting medication that is
only recommended to be taken by people that have used other treatments for cancer whose cancer has not improved
or has unfortunately gotten worse. It is not advised to start this
medication unless you have already benefited from its use.
There are other cancer
drugs that can promote a longer life that are suggested for use.
Gefitinib is an epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor. This drug blocks a substance that
cancer cells use to multiply.
Gefitinib comes in a pill form that is only to be
taken orally. If you have trouble swallowing, you place one
tablet in a half a glass of water and completely dissolve the tablet for about ten minutes. Make sure to crush up any large pieces, and to drink
immediately. Some patients take Gefitinib with food, other’s do
not, it is pure preference. Taking this medication about the
same time every day is advised. Never take more or less than
prescribed. Do not miss a dose, because you are feeling better.
If a dose is missed, take it as soon as you can. But, if the
next dose is due, omit the missed dose. Never take a double
Gefitinib is only available
through a select mail order distribution program for patients that have used the medication in the
past. Consent is generally required for delivery of this medication
to begin. It is very important to always ask your doctor any
questions that you may have regarding this medication.
This medication should be
stored in the container it was delivered in. All medications should
be kept away from children and out their reach. Storing at room
temperature is advised and to avoid excess moisture. Contact your doctor about the proper disposal of any
medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Storage: store Gefitinib
at room temperature (15-25 ° C), away from heat, light and moisture. Keep your medications out of the reach of children
and all drugs should not be used beyond the expiration date printed on the container.
Overdose: chemotherapy drugs, even when taken at
normal dose, can damage the bone marrow, and cause serious decrease in the number of blood cells in your
body. Gefitinib overdose may be dangerous, mainly in fragile
patients, or if taken for long term. Contact your doctor or the poison control center nearest you if you
experience the following symptoms:
- shortness of
- Signs of infection:
fever, sore throat, chills, cough, etc.
take Gefitinib as
indicated your doctor or pharmacist.
In case you forget to
take a dose, take the missed one as soon as you remember it. If, however, it is almost time for your next
do not double it to recover the missed one; it can be dangerous. Contact your doctor or wait to go back to your
regular schedule. This applies not only to Gefitinib
but also any other drug.
contraindicated in patients who suffer from:
any of its ingredients
- EGFR-negative tumors- EGFR stands for epidermal growth factor
your doctor if you are pregnant/breast-feeding, or have:
- pulmonary fibrosis (scarring of
- liver problems
- kidney disease.
Mechanism of action (MOA):
Gefitinib is an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)
tyrosine kinase inhibitor; i
t reduces tumor proliferation by inhibiting tyrosine kinases, enzymes highly involved in intracellular transmission
of signals inducing cell proliferation.
Interactions: It is
strongly advised to alert your health care professional if you eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit
Tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking; many other medications may
interact with Gefitinib. Talk to your doctor before taking aspirin,
vitamins, nutritional supplements or
St. John's wort. Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these
protease inhibitors: atazanavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir
azole antifungals: itraconazole, ketoconazole,
macrolide antibiotics: clarithromycin, erythromycin
- barbiturates: mephobarbital, pentobarbital, secobarbital
- histamine H2-receptor
: cimetidine, ranitidine
- Proton pump inhibitors
esomeprazole, lansoprazole, pantoprazole
Side effects: Gefitinib not only attack cancer cells but also
(healthy) cells, which often leads to, in certain patients, the following side effects:
- dry skin
nausea and vomiting.
doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:
severe depression symptoms
- severe low or high blood pressure
- abdominal pain
purple, blue, or black discoloration of the skin
cramps, decreased blood pressure, dizziness, fainting)
itchy or red eye
ulcer on the surface of the eye
fast or irregular heart beat
shortness of breath
lip or Skin reactions: ulcers, blisters, pain, redness, scaling, etc