What is Gefitinib?
Gefitinib is an anti-cancer medication prescribed to treat lung cancer. This medication is advised to use under medical supervision only.
Type of drug
Gefitinib belongs to signal transduction inhibitor group of medicine which is known as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor in medical terminology. Tyrosine kinase is a protein that helps cancer cells to grow.
Use in brief
Gefitinib is prescribed to use in the treatment of advanced lung cancer.
Gefitinib itself is an active ingredient in several branded medicines.
Gefitinib is prescribed in the treatment of Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, Breast Cancer.
How does Gefitinib work?
This medicine basically belongs to anti-cancer type of drugs and works by blocking certain abnormal proteins that trigger the multiplication of cancer causing cells and helps to slow down or stop the spread of cancer causing cells.
How to Take Gefitinib?
Form of medicine – Gefitinib medicine is available in the form of tablets
When and How to use
Follow the instructions as mentioned in the prescription. Generally used after food. Never crush or chew the tablet but swallow the whole medicine along with some water or liquids. In general this medicine is advised to use with food.
Common Dosage for Gefitinib
The recommended dose of Gefitinib is 250 mg orally once daily with or without food until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Do not take a missed dose within 12 hours of the next dose.
For the patients who cannot swallow, mix with water and stir and swallow.
However dosage depends on the severity of the health condition been treated and is decided by the doctor. Follow the instruction by your doctor. Never miss a dose or take excess dose. Consult your doctor immediately if any excess dosage happens by mistake.
When to Avoid Gefitinib?
Gefitinib is not advised to use in some health conditions such as:
- Allergic reaction towards the Gefitinib medication
- Patients with lung disorders
- Patients with liver disorders
Side-effects of Gefitinib
Gefitinib may possibly show some side effects in some patients. It is advised to consult your doctor if any of such side effects are noticed and if they are prolonged. Below mentioned are some possible side effects by Gefitinib. It may show side effects that are not mentioned here in this list.
- Sore throat
- Allergic skin reaction
- Liver issues
- Eye irritation
- Breathing difficulty
- Abdominal pain
- Redness around fingernails
Effects on organs
- Interstitial Lung Disease
- Liver Toxicity
- Gastrointestinal Perforation
- Severe or Persistent Diarrhoea
- Eye Disorders including Keratitis
- Bullous and Exfoliative Skin Disorders
It is advised to use with extreme precautions and medical supervision in case of severe health disorders or impairment related to Eye, GI tract, Lungs and liver conditions. It is advised to consult the doctor and share detailed information about the current health condition so that the doctor can alter the dosage depending on the patient’s health condition.
Reported Allergic Reactions?
No major allergic reactions are noticed in case of Gefitinib. But it is not recommended in patients who have known allergic reactions towards Gefitinib
Effect on menstrual cycle
Generally no effect noted on the menstrual cycle. You may consult your gynaecologist.
Drug Interactions to Be Careful About
Gefitinib may possibly show drug interaction with some other medication if they are used together. It is advised to share the medication details that you might be using any with your doctor before he prescribes this medicine to you.
Gefitinib has the possibility of showing drug interaction if used along with the below mentioned list of medicine.
Fresh grape juice or Grapefruit should be avoided during the usage of this medicine. Consult your doctor while under this for proper guidance regarding the precautions about food interactions.
Interactions with laboratory procedures
Increased alanine aminotransferase (ALT), Increased aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and Increased bilirubin have been reported with the usage of gefitinib. Liver Function Tests should be monitored throughout the treatment.
Increased INR or haemorrhage have been reported in patients taking warfarin while on treatment with Gefitinib.
It is always good to share details about your current medication before attending any lab tests so that you doctor and lab technician are aware off.
Is Gefitinib Addictive?
No drug addiction is noticed in case of Gefitinib.
Can I have Gefitinib with alcohol?
Limited data is available about the effect of Gefitinib if consumed with alcohol. Consult your doctor if you have a habit of taking alcohol at regular basis.
Can I have Gefitinib When Pregnant?
Not advised to use in general in pregnant women.
Can I have Gefitinib when feeding a baby?
Not advised to use in general in breastfeeding women. But with consultation and supervision in case if unavoidable and the intended benefits are more compared to possible side effects. If this medicine is prescribed during breastfeeding, your doctor may advise you to discontinue breastfeeding until the treatment is completed.
Can I drive after taking Gefitinib?
Gefitinib may cause weakness as a side effect which may cause inability to participate in some activities which require alertness. In such conditions it is not advised to do activities such as driving.
Effect of overdose of Gefitinib
Serious adverse effects may be possible if over dosage happens in large quantities. Consult your doctor immediately in such situations.
Effect of using expired Gefitinib?
Consult your doctor immediately if any adverse effects are noticed by taking any expired medicine. It is advised to check the label while purchasing the medicine to verify the expiry date to be safe.
Effect of missing a dose of Gefitinib
No major adverse effects are noticed if only one dosage is missed. But if you are missing the dosages regularly, it is advised to keep a reminder so that you don’t miss the regular dosage.
It is advised to store the medication away from direct sunlight and to keep at room temperature. Keep away from the reach of the children and pets.
Different Brands of Gefitinib medicine available
Below mentioned is the available brand of medicine that contains Gefitinib as key ingredient, and your doctor may prescribe this to treat the condition.
- Geftinat 250 mg Tablet – manufactured by Natco Pharma Ltd
- Geftib Tablet – manufactured by Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd
- Geficad Tablet – manufactured by Cadila Pharmaceuticals Ltd
- Emfib 250mg Tablet – manufactured by Emcure Pharmaceuticals Ltd
- Zefotib 250mg Tablet – manufactured by Alkem Laboratories Ltd.
- Iressa 250mg Tablet- manufactured by AstraZeneca Labs.
Dr. Divya has been pursuing Dentistry for about 5 years now. Endodontics and Orthodontics are her areas of interest and she holds a BDS degree from Govt. Dental College, Vijayawada, AP. Besides pursuing her career as a Dentist, she is passionate about Technical writing and is spending her free time in writing medical articles to bring awareness and share medical knowledge to the public.