Gefitinib (brand name- Iressa) is an FDA-approved treatment used for non-small cell lung cancer that has spread to other body parts in people with certain types of tumors.
Gefitinib is in a class of medications called kinase inhibitors. It works by blocking the action of a certain naturally occurring substance that may be needed to help cancer cells multiply.
Let us walk you through the key findings you need to know about Gefitinib
How should I take gefitinib (Iressa)?
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 more often than your doctor prescribes. If you are unable to swallow the tablets, you may dissolve them in water. Drink the mixture right away.
Your doctor may delay or permanently stop your treatment if you experience certain side effects. Be sure to tell your doctor how you are feeling during your treatment with gefitinib.
Do not stop taking gefitinib without talking to your doctor. You can help them by tracking your side effects in Ankr.
What are the side effects of Gefitinib?
Common side effects
Gefitinib may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication. If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking gefitinib (Iressa)
- tell your doctor about your allergies
- tell your doctor about other intakes
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any other disease, symptom, or treatment
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Gefitinib may cause infertility (difficulty becoming pregnant) in females.
While you are on gefitinib (Iressa)
- if you become pregnant while taking gefitinib, call your doctor. Gefitinib may harm the fetus.
- tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding. You should not breastfeed while you are taking gefitinib.
I forgot a dose. What should I do?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is less than 12 hours before your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
In case of an emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
How should I safely store and dispose of gefitinib (Iressa)?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
You should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Last Revised – 06/14/2023, FDA updated-12/15/2015, SG
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