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How long can I take Gilotrif (afatinib) for?

Medically reviewed by Philip Thornton, DipPharm. Last updated on Oct 27, 2022.

Official answer


Gilotrif (afatinib) is a prescription medication used to help stop or slow the spread of cancer in people with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Patients tend to take Gilotrif for about 11 to 13 months, although the length of treatment varies from person to person.

How long you can take Gilotrif for depends on how well it’s working for you and the side effects it causes. Usually it’s taken until your cancer starts to progress or you can no longer tolerate the side effects.

In clinical trials, the median amount of time patients remained on Gilotrif was about 11 to 13 months. This is similar to the results from a study done in a real-world setting, which found that the median duration of time patients remained on Gilotrif for the first-line treatment of their NSCLC was 12.1 months. Patients who were male, had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or chronic kidney disease tended to take Gilotrif for a shorter period of time.

Patients who took Gilotrif in a real-world setting as a second-line treatment for NSCLC (when other treatments had failed) took it for about 8 months. However, in a phase III trial in patients using it as a second-line treatment, the Gilotrif-treated patients who experienced a longer-term benefit from the drug received Gilotrif for a median of 19 months.

  • Lim J, Samuelsen C, Golembesky A, Shrestha S, Wang L, Griebsch I. Duration of treatment among patients prescribed afatinib or erlotinib as first-line therapy for EGFR mutation-positive non-small-cell lung cancer in the USA. Future Oncol. 2019;15(13):1493-1504. doi:10.2217/fon-2019-0052.
  • Wu YL, Sequist LV, Tan EH, et al. Afatinib as First-line Treatment of Older Patients With EGFR Mutation-Positive Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer: Subgroup Analyses of the LUX-Lung 3, LUX-Lung 6, and LUX-Lung 7 Trials. Clin Lung Cancer. 2018;19(4):e465-e479. doi:10.1016/j.cllc.2018.03.009.
  • Kato T, Yoshioka H, Okamoto I, et al. Afatinib versus cisplatin plus pemetrexed in Japanese patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer harboring activating EGFR mutations: Subgroup analysis of LUX-Lung 3. Cancer Sci. 2015;106(9):1202-1211. doi:10.1111/cas.12723.
  • Goss GD, Cobo M, Lu S, et al. Afatinib versus erlotinib as second-line treatment of patients with advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the lung: Final analysis of the randomised phase 3 LUX-Lung 8 trial. EClinicalMedicine. 2021;37:100940. Published 2021 Jun 18. doi:10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.100940

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