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Iressa

Generic Name: gefitinib (geh FIH tih nib)

What is Iressa?

Iressa is a cancer chemotherapy medication. Gefitinib interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their growth and spread in the body.

Iressa is used in the treatment of non-small cell lung.

Iressa may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

Important information

Iressa should only be administered under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider experienced in the use of cancer chemotherapeutic agents.

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Serious side effects have been reported with the use of Iressa 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 Iressa.

Before taking this medicine

Do not use Iressa without first talking to your doctor if you have:

  • liver disease; or
  • lung or breathing problems (other than lung cancer).

You may not be able to take Iressa, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring if you have any of the conditions listed above.

Iressa is in the FDA pregnancy category D. This means that it is known to be harmful to an unborn baby. Do not use Iressa without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment. Birth control should be used during treatment with Iressa. It is not known whether gefitinib passes into breast milk. Do not take this medicine without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I use Iressa?

Iressa should only be administered under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider experienced in the use of cancer chemotherapeutic agents.

Take each dose of this medicine with a full glass of water.

Iressa can be taken with or without food.

Your doctor will determine the correct amount and frequency of treatment with Iressa 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 Iressa regularly to get the most benefit.

Your doctor may want you to have blood tests and other medical evaluations during treatment with Iressa to monitor progress and side effects.

Your healthcare provider will store this medicine as directed by the manufacturer. If you are storing Iressa at home, follow the directions provided by your healthcare provider.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you miss a dose of Iressa.

What happens if I overdose?

If an overdose of Iressa is suspected, seek emergency medical attention or contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Symptoms of a Iressa overdose tend to be similar to side effects caused by the medication, although often more severe.

What should I avoid?

There are no restrictions on food, beverages, or activity during treatment with this medicine unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

What are the possible side effects of Iressa?

If you experience any of the following serious side effects from Iressa, 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 Iressa side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue taking Iressa 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

  • weakness.

Other side effects have also been reported. Discuss with your doctor any side effect that occurs during treatment with Iressa. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Iressa?

Before taking Iressa, tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • warfarin (Coumadin);

  • rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane);

  • phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek);

  • ketoconazole (Nizoral);

  • 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 Iressa, 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 Iressa. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any other prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your healthcare provider may have additional information about Iressa that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Gefitinib is available with a prescription under the brand name Iressa. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Iressa 250 mg - round, brown, film-coated tablets

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.05. Revision Date: 4/12/2009 4:45:08 PM.
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