Learn About Tarceva
What is Tarceva?
Tarceva is a pill you take by mouth once a day on an empty stomach.
How is Tarceva used to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer?
Maintenance treatment: Tarceva is prescribed for patients with advanced-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose cancer has not spread or grown after initial treatment with certain types of chemotherapy.
Second/third-line treatment: Tarceva is prescribed for patients with advanced-stage NSCLC whose cancer has spread or grown after receiving at least 1 chemotherapy regimen.
Tarceva is not meant to be used at the same time as certain types of chemotherapy for advanced NSCLC.
How Tarceva may work
Tarceva is not a chemotherapy drug. The way Tarceva works to treat cancer is not fully known. Tarceva is called a targeted cancer treatment. A targeted treatment is a kind of therapy that affects certain signals needed for cancer cells to grow. It may also impact healthy cells. Tarceva may slow or block the activity of a specific protein called epidermal growth factor receptor 1 (HER1/EGFR). Cancer cells need this protein to grow and divide.
Am I eligible for maintenance treatment?
You are able to receive Tarceva as maintenance therapy for your advanced NSCLC if:
- You have received initial treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy, such as carboplatin and paclitaxel or gemcitabine and cisplatin.
- Your tumor has not spread or grown during the initial treatment, or your disease remained stable during the initial treatment.
Am I eligible for 2nd- or 3rd-line treatment?
You are eligible to receive Tarceva treatment if your cancer has spread or grown after you have received at least 1 chemotherapy regimen.
- Tarceva is prescribed for patients with advanced-stage NSCLC whose cancer has not spread or grown after initial treatment with certain types of chemotherapy (maintenance treatment).
- Tarceva is prescribed for patients with advanced-stage NSCLC whose cancer has spread or grown after receiving at least 1 chemotherapy regimen (2nd/3rd-line treatment).
- Tarceva is not meant to be used at the same time as certain types of chemotherapy for advanced NSCLC.
Everyone reacts differently to Tarceva therapy. So it’s important to know what the side effects are. Although some people may have a life-threatening side effect, most do not.
Your doctor will stop treatment if any serious side effects occur. Be sure to contact your healthcare team if you have symptoms related to these side effects.
Interstitial lung disease (ILD)-like events
Problems occurring in the lungs (including deaths). Tarceva may need to be stopped if new or unexplained serious symptoms of shortness of breath, cough, and fever occur.
Liver and/or kidney problems
Some events have included death. Let your healthcare provider (HCP) know if you have a history of liver or kidney disease.
Gastrointestinal (GI) perforation
A hole that develops in your stomach or intestine. Some events have included death.
Serious skin conditions
Some events have included death.
Eye irritation and damage to the cornea.
Bleeding events when taking warfarin
Some events have included death. Tell your doctor if you are taking warfarin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
You should not become pregnant while on treatment with Tarceva. DO NOT breast-feed while receiving treatment with Tarceva.
Call your HCP right away if you have these signs or symptoms:
- New or worsening skin rash
- Serious or ongoing diarrhea, nausea, loss of appetite, or vomiting
- New or worsening shortness of breath or cough
- Eye irritation
The most common side effects are generally mild to moderate rash and diarrhea.
It is important that you tell your HCP about all of the medicines and herbal supplements you are taking.
- DO NOT start taking any new medicines or herbal supplements before talking with your HCP.
- DO NOT eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while on treatment with Tarceva, except under the care of your HCP.
Smoking may affect how well Tarceva works for you.
- If you smoke, you should stop smoking before starting treatment with Tarceva.
- If you continue to smoke, you should talk to your HCP before taking Tarceva.
Always let your HCP know if you have any side effects, and ask about the best way to handle them.
Tarceva is not right for everyone. Ask your HCP if once-daily Tarceva is right for you.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1 (800) FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch. You may also report side effects to Genentech at 1 (888) 835-2555.