Generic Name: Gefitinib (ge FI tye nib)
Brand Name: Iressa
Medically reviewed on September 5, 2018
Uses of Gefitinib:
- It is used to treat lung cancer.
- It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Gefitinib?
- If you have an allergy to gefitinib or any other part of gefitinib.
- If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
This medicine may interact with other drugs or health problems.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take gefitinib with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Gefitinib?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take gefitinib. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- Holes in the GI (gastrointestinal) tract may rarely happen.
- This medicine may cause fertility problems. This may affect being able to have children. Talk with the doctor.
- Use birth control that you can trust to prevent pregnancy while taking gefitinib and for at least 2 weeks after stopping the drug.
- This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant. If you are pregnant or you get pregnant while taking gefitinib, call your doctor right away.
- Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.
How is this medicine (Gefitinib) best taken?
Use gefitinib as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Keep taking gefitinib as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
- To gain the most benefit, do not miss doses.
- Take with or without food.
- You may put the tablets in 4 to 8 ounces (120 to 240 mL) of water. Stir for about 15 minutes and drink right away. Rinse the glass with 4 to 8 ounces (120 to 240 mL) of water and drink right away.
- If you take cimetidine, dexlansoprazole, esomeprazole, famotidine, lansoprazole, nizatidine, omeprazole, pantoprazole, rabeprazole, or ranitidine, ask your doctor or pharmacist how to take it with gefitinib.
- Talk with your doctor before you take antacids while you are taking gefitinib.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is less than 12 hours until the next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Change in eyesight, eye pain, or very bad eye irritation.
- If bright lights bother your eyes.
- Very bad belly pain.
- Chest pain or pressure.
- Coughing up blood.
- Mouth irritation or mouth sores.
- Very loose stools (diarrhea).
- Loose stools (diarrhea) that will not go away.
- Very bad and sometimes deadly liver problems have happened with gefitinib. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
- A very bad skin reaction (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) may happen. It can cause very bad health problems that may not go away, and sometimes death. Get medical help right away if you have signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in your mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.
- Very bad and sometimes deadly lung problems have happened with gefitinib. Call your doctor right away if you have lung or breathing problems like trouble breathing, shortness of breath, or a cough that is new or worse.
What are some other side effects of Gefitinib?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Throwing up.
- Loose stools (diarrhea).
- Skin irritation.
- Pimples (acne).
- Dry skin.
- Change in nails.
- Not hungry.
- Dry eyes.
- Eye irritation.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Gefitinib?
- Store at room temperature.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
Consumer information use
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
- Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about gefitinib, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
More about gefitinib
- Gefitinib Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
- En Español
- 7 Reviews
- Drug class: EGFR inhibitors
Other brands: Iressa