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- Product overview
Treating non-small cell lung cancer after other cancer chemotherapy treatments have not been successful. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Gefitinib is a cancer chemotherapy agent. It works by blocking a certain protein (an enzyme called tyrosine kinase). This helps to stop the cancer from growing and spreading.
Do NOT use gefitinib if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in gefitinib
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using gefitinib:
Some medical conditions may interact with gefitinib. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have lung disease (eg, pulmonary fibrosis), heart problems, severe kidney problems, or liver problems
- if you have had a stroke
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with gefitinib. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Antacids (eg, sodium bicarbonate, calcium carbonate), histamine H2-receptor blockers (eg, famotidine), hydantoins (eg, phenytoin), or rifampin because the effectiveness of gefitinib may be decreased
- Imidazoles (eg, ketoconazole) because the side effects of gefitinib may be increased
- Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin) because the risk of bleeding may be increased
- Vinorelbine because the risk of low white blood cell counts may be increased
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if gefitinib may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use gefitinib:
Use gefitinib as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Gefitinib may be taken with or without food.
- If you have difficulty swallowing the tablet, it can be added to half a glass of water (non-carbonated). Do not use other liquids. Drop the tablet into the water, without crushing it, and stir until it dissolves (about 10 minutes). Then drink the liquid immediately. Rinse the glass with half a glass of water and drink it.
- Take gefitinib regularly to receive the most benefit from it.
- Taking gefitinib at the same time each day will help you remember to take it.
- If you miss a dose of gefitinib, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use gefitinib.
Important safety information:
- Additional monitoring of your dose or condition may be needed if you are taking erythromycin, clarithromycin, or St. John's wort.
- Gefitinib may cause changes in vision. Contact your doctor if eye irritation occurs. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to gefitinib.
- LAB TESTS, including liver function tests, may be performed to monitor your progress or to check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- Gefitinib is not recommended for use in CHILDREN. Safety and effectiveness have not been confirmed.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Do not become pregnant while taking gefitinib. Gefitinib may cause harm to the fetus. If you become pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using gefitinib during pregnancy. It is unknown if gefitinib is excreted in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking gefitinib.