Tarceva is a prescription drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer that has not progressed after four cycles of platinum-based first-line chemotherapy or after failure of at least one prior chemotherapy regimen. Tarceva is also referred to by its drug name, erlotinib.
Tarceva is a member of a class of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Tarceva is believed to work by inhibiting the activity of kinases associated with the epidermal growth factor receptor. Interfering with these kinases prevents cancer cells from receiving a protein they need to reproduce, thus hindering cancer cell replication and slowing the growth of tumors.
How do I take it?
Prescribing information states that Tarceva is taken orally as a tablet once daily on an empty stomach.
Tarceva should be taken exactly as prescribed by a physician.
The FDA-approved label for Tarceva lists common side effects including rash, diarrhea, loss of appetite, fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, nausea, infection, and vomiting.
Rare but serious side effects listed for Tarceva include kidney failure, liver failure, severe skin disorders, potentially fatal stomach and intestinal damage, heart attack, stroke, bleeding events, fetal harm, and interstitial lung disease (scarring of the lungs).
For more details about this treatment, visit:
Tarceva — Genentech
Erlotinib (Oral Route) — Mayo Clinic