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Tarceva is a medicinal product used to treat cancer by preventing the activity of a protein called epidermal growth factor receptor. This protein is known to be involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells.
Tarceva can be prescribed to you if you have non-small cell lung cancer at an advanced stage and chemotherapy has not helped to stop your disease.
Tarceva can also be prescribed to you in combination with another treatment called gemcitabine if you have cancer of the pancreas at a metastatic stage.
Always take Tarceva exactly as your doctor has told you. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
The tablet should be taken at least one hour before or two hours after the ingestion of food.
The usual dose is one tablet of Tarceva 150 mg each day if you have non-small cell lung cancer.
The usual dose is one tablet of Tarceva 100 mg each day if you have metastatic pancreatic cancer.
It is not known whether Tarceva has a different effect if your liver or kidneys are not functioning normally. The treatment with Tarceva is not recommended if you have a severe liver disease or severe kidney disease.
Your doctor must treat you with caution if you have a glucuronidation disorder like Gilbert’s syndrome.
You are advised to stop smoking if you are treated with Tarceva as smoking could decrease the amount of your medicine in the blood.
The most common side effects which are caused by Tarceva include: rash and diarrhoea as well as itching, dry skin, loss of hair, eye irritation due to conjunctivitis/keratocunjunctivitis, loss of appetite, decreased weight, nausea, vomiting, mouth irritation, stomach pain, indigestion, flatulence, tiredness, fever, rigors, difficulty in breathing, cough, infection, headache, altered skin sensation or numbness in the extremities, depression and abnormal blood tests for the liver function. In rare cases (occurring in less than 1 out of 1000 patients), liver failure was observed. If your blood tests indicate severe changes in your liver function, your doctor may need to interrupt your treatment. Persistent and severe diarrhoea may lead to low blood potassium and kidney failure, particularly if you receive other chemotherapy treatments at the same time.