What is this medication?
GEFITINIB (ge FI ti nib) is a medicine that targets proteins in cancer cells and stops the cancer cells from growing. It is used to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Iressa
What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- eye disease, vision problems
- liver disease
- lung or breathing disease, like asthma
- lung fibrosis
- recent or ongoing radiation therapy
- scarring or thickening of the lungs
- an unusual or allergic reaction to gefitinib, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medication?
Take this medicine by mouth with a full glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. You can take it with or without food. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take it more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.
If you have difficulty swallowing the tablets, let your doctor, pharmacist or health care professional know. They can help you with advice.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is less than 12 hours until your next dose, skip your missed dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
What may interact with this medication?
Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
This medicine may also interact with the following medications:
- antiviral medicines for HIV or AIDS
- certain medicines for fungal infections like ketoconazole and itraconazole
- certain medicines for seizures like carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin
- certain medicines for stomach problems like cimetidine, famotidine, omeprazole, lansoprazole
- certain medicines that treat or prevent blood clots like warfarin
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Visit your doctor for checks on your progress. You will need to have regular blood tests while on this medicine.
Report any new symptoms promptly. Let your doctor know if you have severe or persistent diarrhea, nausea, loss of appetite, or vomiting, as these side effects may cause dehydration. This drug may cause severe lung problems. Call your doctor if your breathing gets worse and/or you develop a cough or fever.
Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine or for 2 weeks after stopping it. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. Women of child-bearing potential will need to have a negative pregnancy test before starting this medicine. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
- allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
- breathing problems
- changes in vision
- eye pain
- nausea, vomiting
- redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
- red spots on the skin
- signs and symptoms of liver injury like dark yellow or brown urine; general ill feeling or flu-like symptoms; light-colored stools; loss of appetite; nausea; right upper belly pain; unusually weak or tired; yellowing of the eyes or skin
- stomach pain
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
- decreased appetite
- dry skin
- weight loss
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Where should I keep my medication?
Keep out of the reach of children.
Store at room temperature between 20 and 25 degrees C (68 and 77 degrees F). Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
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