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Geftinib

Geftinib

Description

Gefitinib is an anticancer medicine which is used in the treatment of cancer of the lungs. It should only be used under the supervision of a qualified physician. This medicine is not recommended for use in patients with lung and liver diseases.

Side Effects

Important things to remember about the side effects of gefitinib:

  • Most people do not experience all of the side effects listed.
  • Side effects are often predictable in terms of their onset and duration.
  • Side effects are almost always reversible and will go away after treatment is complete.
  • There are many options to help minimize or prevent side effects.
  • There is no relationship between the presence or severity of side effects and the effectiveness of the medication.

The following side effects are common (occurring in greater than 30%) for patients taking gefitinib:

  • Diarrhea
  • Skin reaction (rash, acne)
  • These side effects are less common side effects (occurring in about 10-29%) of patients receiving gefitinib:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Itching
  • Poor appetite
  • Eye irritation

Rare cases (about 1%) of a serious side effect of interstitial lung disease (pneumonia, or inflammation of the lungs without infection). 

Precautions:

Before starting gefitinib treatment, make sure you tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking (including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, herbal remedies, etc.).   Do not take aspirin, or products containing aspirin unless your doctor specifically permits this.

Do not receive any kind of immunization or vaccination without your doctor's approval while taking gefitinib.

Inform your health care professional if you are pregnant or may be pregnant prior to starting this treatment. Pregnancy category D (gefitinib may be hazardous to the fetus.  Women who are pregnant or become pregnant must be advised of the potential hazard to the fetus.)

For both men and women: Do not conceive a child (get pregnant) while taking gefitinib. Barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms, are recommended. Discuss with your doctor when you may safely become pregnant or conceive a child after therapy.

How should this medicine be used?

Gefitinib comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken with or without food once a day. Take gefitinib at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take gefitinib exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

If you are unable to swallow the tablets, you may dissolve them in water. Place one tablet in 4 to 8 ounces (120 to 240 mL) of plain, noncarbonated drinking water. Stir with a spoon for about 15 minutes until the tablet is dissolved. Drink the mixture right away. Rinse the glass with another 4 to 8 ounces (120 to 240 mL) of water and drink the rinse water right away to be sure that you swallow all of the medication.

Warnings

  • Warnings for special population
  • Pregnancy - This medicine is not recommended for use in pregnant women.
  • Breast-feeding - This medicine is not recommended for use in breastfeeding women unless absolutely necessary. If this medicine is prescribed, your doctor will advise you to discontinue breastfeeding.
  • Skin reactions - Patients receiving Gefitinib have experienced severe skin reactions like toxic epidermal necrolysis, Stevens Johnson syndrome, and erythema multiforme. Close monitoring of symptoms like change in color of the skin, skin rashes, itching, blistering, etc. is necessary while receiving this medicine. Any such symptoms should be reported to the doctor on priority. The treatment should be discontinued if these symptoms appear.

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