Gilotrif is a brand-name prescription medication. It’s FDA-approved to treat certain forms of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). With metastatic lung cancer, the cancer has spread from your lungs to other parts of your body.

Specifically, Gilotrif is prescribed for:

  • Metastatic squamous NSCLC. With squamous NSCLC, the cancer starts in squamous cells that line the airways in your lungs. Gilotrif is approved for use when this type of cancer has become worse after platinum-based chemotherapy.
  • Metastatic NSCLC that’s EGFR-positive. With EGFR-positive NSCLC, the cancer cells have abnormal proteins called epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs) on their surface. These proteins make the cancer cells grow and multiply rapidly. Gilotrif is approved as a first-line treatment for this type of lung cancer.* “First line” refers to the first treatment given.

Gilotrif is a targeted therapy for NSCLC. Targeted therapies act on specific features of cancer cells that make them quickly grow in size and number.

* Gilotrif has a limitation of use. For details, see the “Gilotrif uses” section below.

Drug details

Gilotrif contains the active drug afatinib. Gilotrif belongs to a class of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Gilotrif comes as an oral tablet. It’s available in three strengths: 20 milligrams (mg), 30 mg, and 40 mg.

Effectiveness

For information about the effectiveness of Gilotrif, see the “Gilotrif uses” section below.

Gilotrif is available only as a brand-name medication. It’s not currently available in generic form.

A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generics usually cost less than brand-name drugs.

Gilotrif can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Gilotrif. These lists do not include all possible side effects.

For more information about the possible side effects of Gilotrif, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to manage any side effects that may be concerning or bothersome.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Gilotrif, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects* of Gilotrif can include:

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* This is a partial list of mild side effects from Gilotrif. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or view Gilotrif’s prescribing information.
† For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Gilotrif aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

  • Liver problems, such as cirrhosis. Symptoms can include:
    • pain on the right side of your abdomen
    • dark urine
    • pale stools
    • fatigue
    • bruising or bleeding easily
  • Interstitial lung disease (inflammation or scarring in the lungs). Symptoms can include new or worsening:
    • cough
    • breathlessness
    • trouble breathing
  • Gastrointestinal perforation (tear or hole in the wall of your stomach or intestines). Symptoms can include:
    • severe abdominal pain
    • nausea and vomiting
    • chills
    • fever
  • Keratitis (inflammation of your cornea, which is the front of your eye). Symptoms can include:
    • eye redness
    • eye swelling
    • eye pain
    • blurry or cloudy vision
    • increased sensitivity to light
  • Heart problems, such as left-sided heart failure. Symptoms can include:
    • new or worsening breathlessness, especially with physical activity
    • new or worsening cough
    • fatigue
    • swelling of your legs, ankles, or feet
    • sudden weight gain
  • Severe diarrhea.*
  • Severe skin reaction, such as severe rashes with blistering and peeling.*
  • Allergic reaction.*

* For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.

Side effect details

Here’s some detail on certain side effects this drug may cause. To find out how often side effects occurred in clinical trials, see the prescribing information for Gilotrif.

Diarrhea

In clinical trials of Gilotrif, diarrhea was the most common side effect reported with the drug. In fact, diarrhea affected almost all people who took Gilotrif.

In most cases, diarrhea is mild. However, it can also be severe. Both mild and severe diarrhea can quickly become serious if not treated.

With diarrhea, your body loses more fluids and electrolytes than usual. (Electrolytes are essential minerals such as sodium and potassium.) This can lead to dehydration, which may cause serious problems such as kidney failure and low potassium levels.

What you can do

When you start Gilotrif treatment, your doctor will likely prescribe an anti-diarrheal medication such as loperamide (Imodium). They’ll usually recommend taking it right away if you have diarrhea. In general, you’ll keep taking the drug as instructed until you haven’t had a loose bowel movement for at least 12 hours.

If you have diarrhea with Gilotrif, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to avoid becoming dehydrated. It may also help to consume an extra beverage after each loose bowel movement. Your doctor may recommend drinking rehydration solutions such as Pedialyte or sports drinks such as Gatorade. These help replace lost electrolytes as well as fluids.

While you have diarrhea, try to avoid fruit juices and foods that are greasy, spicy, rich, or high in fiber. Instead, stick to bland, easily digested foods until your diarrhea eases. Examples of these foods include:

  • dry bread, toast, or crackers
  • plain white rice
  • boiled potatoes
  • clear broths and soups
  • bananas

If you have diarrhea that’s severe or lasts longer than 48 hours, talk with your doctor right away. They’ll likely recommend that you stop taking Gilotrif until the diarrhea eases. You may also need to be rehydrated with IV fluids in a hospital. When you restart Gilotrif treatment, your doctor may prescribe a lower dosage. Be sure to follow their instructions.

Skin reactions

In clinical trials, skin reactions were among the most common side effects reported with Gilotrif. In fact, mild skin reactions affected almost all people who took the drug.

Examples of mild skin reactions that may occur with Gilotrif include:

  • skin redness, darkening, or discoloration
  • itching
  • mild rash
  • acne
  • dry skin
  • increased risk of sunburn and sensitivity to sunlight
  • hand-foot syndrome (swelling, pain, tingling, or burning in the palms of the hands or soles of the feet)

Severe and life threatening skin reactions are also possible with Gilotrif, but these are rare. Examples of severe skin reactions include blistering or peeling of your skin. They also include conditions such as toxic epidermal necrolysis and Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

What you can do

To help minimize the risk and severity of skin reactions with Gilotrif, you should avoid exposing your skin to the sun as much as possible. If you do go out in the sun, protect your skin with clothing and a hat. Also, apply sunscreen to exposed areas of skin.

If you notice changes in your skin while taking Gilotrif, talk with your doctor. They can recommend treatments to ease your symptoms, such as moisturizers, steroid creams, or antihistamines.

If you have a skin reaction that’s bothersome or doesn’t ease after about a week, see your doctor. They may pause your treatment with Gilotrif until the reaction clears up. When you restart Gilotrif treatment, your doctor may prescribe a lower dosage. Be sure to follow their instructions.

If you have a severe skin reaction, see your doctor right away. Severe skin reactions can include blistering or peeling of your skin and blistering inside your mouth. Your doctor will likely have you stop taking Gilotrif. Some severe skin reactions may need treatment in a hospital.

Mouth sores

In clinical trials of Gilotrif, mouth sores were among the most common side effects reported with the drug.

Mouth sores can develop anywhere inside your mouth, including on your gums and tongue. They can also develop in your throat.

With mouth sores, you may have:

  • painful red, white, or swollen patches in your mouth or throat
  • ulcers (sores) in your mouth or throat
  • sores that may bleed or become infected
  • an altered sense of taste
  • pain when chewing or swallowing
  • trouble eating or drinking

What you can do

To help prevent mouth sores while taking Gilotrif, it’s important to practice good oral hygiene. Try using a soft toothbrush to clean your teeth. You can also ask your doctor if they recommend gentler brands of mouthwash or dental floss. If you wear dentures, your doctor may give you advice on removing and cleaning them. Your dentist can also give you advice on mouth care while taking Gilotrif.

If you develop mouth sores with Gilotrif, see your doctor. They may prescribe a mouthwash that contains a local anesthetic, a corticosteroid, or an antibiotic to help relieve pain or treat infection in your mouth. Your doctor can also advise you on other ways to manage this side effect so you can eat and drink as usual. It’s important that you do not try to manage mouth sores on your own. Some home remedies can make the problem worse.

In certain cases, your doctor may prescribe magic mouthwash for mouth sores. This is a type of mouthwash that your pharmacist prepares. It typically contains a few different ingredients, for example:

  • an antifungal, such as nystatin
  • an antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • a corticosteroid, such as hydrocortisone

If you have severe mouth sores with Gilotrif, your doctor may pause your treatment until the sores heal. When you start taking Gilotrif again, your doctor may prescribe a lower dosage. Be sure to follow their instructions.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Gilotrif.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Gilotrif, as the reaction could become severe. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or you think you’re having a medical emergency.

As with all medications, the cost of Gilotrif can vary. To find current prices for Gilotrif tablets in your area, check out WellRx.com.

The cost you find on WellRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Keep in mind that you may be able to get a 90-day supply of Gilotrif. If approved by your insurance company, getting a 90-day supply of the drug could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company.

It’s important to note that you’ll have to get Gilotrif at a specialty pharmacy. This type of pharmacy is authorized to carry specialty medications. These are drugs that may be expensive or may require help from healthcare professionals to be used safely and effectively.

Before approving coverage for Gilotrif, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the prior authorization request and decide if the drug will be covered.

If you’re not sure if you’ll need to get prior authorization for Gilotrif, contact your insurance company.

Financial assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Gilotrif, help is available. Gilotrif has a Co-pay Assistance Program. For more information and to find out if you’re eligible for support, call 877-546-5349 or visit the Gilotrif website.

To learn more about saving money on prescriptions, check out this article.

Mail-order pharmacies

Gilotrif may be available through a mail-order pharmacy. Using this service may help lower the drug’s cost and allow you to get your medication without leaving home.

If your doctor recommends it, you may be able to receive a 90-day supply of Gilotrif, so there’s less concern about running out of the medication. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order medications.

If you don’t have insurance, you can ask your doctor or pharmacist about online pharmacy options.

Generic version

Gilotrif is not available in a generic form. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Gilotrif to treat certain conditions. Gilotrif may also be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label drug use is when an FDA-approved drug is prescribed for a purpose other than what it’s approved for.

Gilotrif for metastatic squamous non-small cell lung cancer

Gilotrif is FDA-approved to treat metastatic squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in adults. The drug is approved for this purpose when this type of cancer has gotten worse after the use of chemotherapy with platinum-based drugs. Examples of platinum-based drugs include cisplatin (Platinol) and carboplatin (Paraplatin).

Metastatic squamous non-small cell lung cancer explained

There are two main types of lung cancer: small cell lung cancer and NSCLC. The most common type is NSCLC.

There are several subtypes of NSCLC, named according to what kind of cell they occur in. With squamous NSCLC, the cancer starts in squamous cells that line the bronchi (airways) in your lungs.

Metastatic squamous NSCLC is an advanced form of this type of cancer. “Metastatic” means the cancer has spread from your lungs to other parts of your body, such as your bones, adrenal glands, or brain.

The symptoms you may have with this type of cancer depend on where in your body the cancer has spread to. For example, metastatic cancer in your bones may cause pain. If the cancer spreads to the adrenal glands, there usually aren’t symptoms. However, a large tumor may cause abdominal or back pain. Lung cancer that reaches the brain may cause symptoms such as headaches and tiredness.

Gilotrif is a targeted therapy for lung cancer. Targeted therapies act on specific features of cancer cells that make them grow and multiply rapidly.

To learn more about lung cancer and its treatment, visit our lung cancer hub. You can also talk with your doctor.

Effectiveness for metastatic squamous non-small cell lung cancer

Gilotrif is an effective treatment for the type of lung cancer described above. The drug can increase the length of time you live without your cancer getting worse. To find out how Gilotrif performed in clinical trials, see its prescribing information.

Gilotrif is recommended in guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) for treating metastatic NSCLC.

Gilotrif for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer

Gilotrif is FDA-approved to treat metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that’s EGFR-positive. (EGFR stands for epidermal growth factor receptor.) The drug is approved for adults who have not yet had treatment for this type of cancer.

Gilotrif has a limitation of use. For details, see “Lung cancer and EGFRs” below.

Metastatic non-small cell lung cancer explained

Metastatic NSCLC is an advanced form of lung cancer. “Metastatic” means the cancer has spread from your lungs to other parts of your body, such as your bones, adrenal glands, or brain.

The symptoms you may have with this type of cancer depend on where in your body the cancer has spread to. For example, metastatic cancer in your bones may cause pain. If the cancer spreads to the adrenal glands, there usually aren’t symptoms. However, a large tumor may cause abdominal or back pain. Lung cancer that reaches the brain may cause symptoms such as headaches and tiredness.

Lung cancer and EGFRs

With metastatic NSCLC that’s EGFR-positive, the cancer cells have abnormal proteins called EGFRs on their surface.

EGFR proteins typically help cells grow and multiply. However, sometimes genetic mutations (abnormal changes in genes) cause cells to make abnormal EGFR proteins. These abnormal proteins don’t work correctly. Instead, they make the cells grow and multiply faster than usual. This can lead to cancer.

Gilotrif is a targeted therapy for NSCLC that’s EGFR-positive. Targeted therapies act on specific features of cancer cells that make them grow in number and size. Gilotrif targets the abnormal EGFR proteins.

Your doctor will order tests to check whether your cancer has abnormal EGFR proteins. These are sometimes called biomarker tests. They allow doctors to determine whether Gilotrif can treat your cancer.

In some cases, the test results may show that the EGFR proteins are resistant to treatment with Gilotrif. If this occurs, it’s not known whether Gilotrif will be safe or effective. This is referred to as a limitation of use with Gilotrif.

For more information

To learn more about lung cancer and its treatment, visit our lung cancer hub. You can also talk with your doctor.

Effectiveness for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer

Gilotrif is an effective treatment for the type of lung cancer described above. The drug can increase the length of time you live without your cancer getting worse. To find out how Gilotrif performed in clinical trials, see its prescribing information.

Gilotrif is recommended in guidelines from the NCCN for treating metastatic NSCLC.

Gilotrif and children

Gilotrif is not approved for use in children younger than age 18 years. The drug hasn’t been studied in this age group.

The Gilotrif dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:

  • your kidney function
  • other medications you take
  • whether you have certain side effects with Gilotrif

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).* However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

* For details about the drug’s uses, see the “Gilotrif uses” section above.

Drug form

Gilotrif comes as an oral tablet.

Drug strengths (20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg)

Gilotrif is available in three strengths: 20 milligrams (mg), 30 mg, and 40 mg.

Dosage for metastatic squamous non-small cell lung cancer

The usual recommended dosage of Gilotrif for metastatic squamous NSCLC is 40 mg once per day.

Dosage for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer

The usual recommended dosage of Gilotrif for metastatic NSCLC that’s EGFR-positive is 40 mg once per day. EGFR stands for epidermal growth factor receptor.

What if I miss a dose?

You should take your dose of Gilotrif around the same time each day. If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as possible. However, if it’s less than 12 hours until your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next scheduled dose as usual.

You should not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose. Also, do not take extra doses to make up for a missed dose. Doing so can increase your risk of side effects.

If you have questions about what to do if you miss a dose of Gilotrif, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or using a timer. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.

Will I need to take this drug long term?

Gilotrif is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Gilotrif is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.

Gilotrif is a targeted therapy for certain forms of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).* Targeted therapies block specific proteins that help cancer cells grow, multiply, and spread.

Other drugs are available that can treat metastatic NSCLC. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Gilotrif, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Note: Some of the drugs listed here are used off-label to treat these specific conditions. Off-label drug use is when a drug that’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is prescribed for a purpose other than what it’s approved for.

* For details about the drug’s uses, see the “Gilotrif uses” section above.

Alternatives for metastatic squamous non-small cell lung cancer

Examples of other drugs that may be prescribed to treat metastatic squamous NSCLC include:

  • other targeted therapies, such as:
    • ramucirumab (Cyramza)
  • immunotherapy (treatment that helps your immune system attack the cancer), such as:
  • chemotherapy, such as:
    • docetaxel (Taxotere)
    • gemcitabine (Infugem)
    • paclitaxel (Abraxane)
    • pemetrexed (Alimta)

Alternatives for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer

Examples of other drugs that may be prescribed to treat metastatic NSCLC that’s EGFR-positive* include:

  • other targeted therapies, such as:
    • amivantamab (Rybrevant)
    • bevacizumab (Avastin)
    • dacomitinib (Vizimpro)
    • erlotinib (Tarceva)
    • gefitinib (Iressa)
    • mobocertinib (Exkivity)
    • necitumumab (Portrazza)
    • ramucirumab (Cyramza)
  • immunotherapy, such as:
    • atezolizumab (Tecentriq)
    • nivolumab (Opdivo)
    • pembrolizumab (Keytruda)
  • chemotherapy, such as:
    • carboplatin
    • cisplatin
    • docetaxel (Taxotere)
    • doxorubicin (Doxil)
    • gemcitabine (Infugem)
    • paclitaxel (Abraxane)
    • vinorelbine

* EGFR stands for epidermal growth factor receptor.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Gilotrif.

What’s the survival rate with Gilotrif?

It’s not known what the survival rate is with Gilotrif. “Survival rate” refers to the percentage of people who are still alive a certain amount of time after starting treatment.

In clinical trials, researchers didn’t investigate the survival rate with Gilotrif. Instead, they looked at how the drug affected progression-free survival. This is the length of time people survived without their cancer worsening. Gilotrif was shown to increase progression-free survival compared with certain other treatments, such as pemetrexed (Alimta) plus cisplatin.

To find out how Gilotrif performed in clinical trials, see the drug’s prescribing information. Keep in mind that you may not have the same results with Gilotrif. You can talk with your doctor about what to expect with this treatment.

How can I keep track of my Gilotrif treatment and appointments?

Gilotrif’s manufacturer provides a diary that you can use to track of your Gilotrif treatment and appointments. You can note when you’ve taken your medication and any side effects you have. You can also use the diary to record details such as when your next appointment is scheduled for and any changes your doctor makes to your treatment.

Is Gilotrif a targeted therapy?

Yes, Gilotrif is a targeted therapy. This is a type of drug that has more effect on cancer cells than healthy cells. It targets particular proteins that make cancer cells grow and multiply rapidly. To learn more about how Gilotrif works, see the “How Gilotrif works” section below.

Targeted therapies tend to have fewer side effects than traditional untargeted cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy. However, these therapies can still cause some serious side effects. To read more about Gilotrif’s side effects, see the “Gilotrif side effects” section above.

If you have additional questions about Gilotrif, how it works, and possible side effects, talk with your doctor.

Gilotrif is not known to interact with alcohol. However, drinking alcohol with Gilotrif could worsen certain side effects of this drug. Examples include:

If you consume alcohol, talk with your doctor about whether it’s safe for you to continue drinking while you take Gilotrif.

Gilotrif can interact with several other medications. It can also interact with certain supplements and certain foods.

Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase side effects or make them more severe.

Gilotrif and other medications

Below is a list of medications that can interact with Gilotrif. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with Gilotrif.

Before taking Gilotrif, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you take. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Types of drugs that can interact with Gilotrif include:

  • Certain antibiotics. Antibiotics are used to help prevent and treat bacterial infections. Taking certain antibiotics with Gilotrif can increase your risk of side effects from Gilotrif. Your doctor may prescribe a dosage of Gilotrif that’s lower than usual if you take Gilotrif with one of these antibiotics. Examples of these medications include:
    • clarithromycin
    • erythromycin (Eryc, Ery-Tab, Eryped, Erythrocin)
  • Certain other antibiotics. Taking certain other antibiotics with Gilotrif can make Gilotrif less effective than usual. Your doctor may prescribe an increased dose of Gilotrif if you take Gilotrif with one of these antibiotics. Examples of these drugs include:
    • rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane)
  • Certain antifungals. Antifungals are drugs used to help prevent and treat fungal infections. Taking certain antifungals with Gilotrif can increase your risk of side effects from Gilotrif. Your doctor may prescribe a dosage of Gilotrif that’s lower than usual if you take it with one of these antifungals. Examples of these medications include:
    • ketoconazole
    • itraconazole (Sporanox, Tolsura)
  • Certain HIV drugs. Taking certain HIV drugs with Gilotrif can increase your risk of side effects from Gilotrif. Your doctor may prescribe a dosage of Gilotrif that’s lower than usual if you take any of these HIV medications. Examples of these drugs include:
    • nelfinavir (Viracept)
    • ritonavir (Norvir)
  • Certain immunosuppressants. Drugs called immunosuppressants work by reducing the activity of your immune system. Taking certain immunosuppressants with Gilotrif can increase your risk of side effects from Gilotrif. Your doctor may prescribe a dosage of Gilotrif that’s lower than usual if you take any of these immunosuppressants. Examples of these medications include:
    • tacrolimus (Prograf)
  • Certain heart drugs. Taking certain heart drugs with Gilotrif can increase your risk of side effects from Gilotrif. Your doctor may prescribe a dosage of Gilotrif that’s lower than usual if you take any of these heart medications. Examples of these drugs include:
    • amiodarone (Pacerone)
    • quinidine
  • Certain seizure medications. Taking Gilotrif with certain seizure medications can make Gilotrif less effective than usual. Your doctor may prescribe an increased dose of Gilotrif if you take any of these seizure drugs. Examples of these medications include:
    • carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol)
    • phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • Corticosteroids. Drugs called corticosteroids are used to reduce inflammation. Taking Gilotrif with a corticosteroid may increase your risk of gastrointestinal perforation (tear in the wall of your stomach or intestine). Examples of corticosteroids include:
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)are pain relievers that also reduce inflammation. Taking Gilotrif with an NSAID may increase your risk of gastrointestinal perforation. Examples of NSAIDs include:
    • diclofenac (Zipsor, Cataflam, Zorvolex)

Gilotrif and herbs and supplements

Taking Gilotrif with St. John’s wort can make Gilotrif less effective than usual. St. John’s wort is an herbal supplement that’s sometimes taken to ease depression. Your doctor may prescribe an increased dose of Gilotrif if you take it with St. John’s wort.

There aren’t any other herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Gilotrif. However, you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any of these products while taking Gilotrif.

Gilotrif and foods

Gilotrif is not known to interact with any specific foods. However, you should avoid eating food at least 2 hours before and 1 hour after a dose. Taking Gilotrif with food lowers the level of the drug in your body. This may make Gilotrif less effective than usual.

You should take Gilotrif according to the instructions your doctor gives you.

When to take

You should take Gilotrif once per day at around the same time each day. Taking the medication at around the same time of day helps keep a steady level of the drug in your body. This helps Gilotrif work effectively.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or using a timer. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.

Accessible labels and containers

If your prescription label is hard to read, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies offer labels that have large print, braille, or a code you scan with a smartphone to convert text to speech. If your local pharmacy doesn’t have these options, your doctor or pharmacist may be able to direct you to one that does.

If you have trouble opening the bottle of Gilotrif, let your pharmacist know. They may be able to recommend tools that can make it simpler to open lids.

Taking Gilotrif with food

You should take Gilotrif without food on an empty stomach. Be sure to take the drug at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating.

Can Gilotrif be crushed, split, or chewed?

No, you should not crush, split, or chew Gilotrif. The drug should usually be swallowed whole. However, if you have trouble swallowing tablets, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may recommend dissolving Gilotrif in a glass of water. If this is right for you, your doctor or pharmacist can explain how to take the medication this way.

Gilotrif is used to treat certain forms of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). With metastatic lung cancer, the cancer has spread from your lungs to other parts of your body.

What Gilotrif does

Gilotrif is a targeted therapy for NSCLC. Targeted therapies act on particular features of cancer cells that make them grow and multiply rapidly.

Gilotrif is a type of drug called a tyrosine kinase inhibitor. The way Gilotrif works is by blocking the action of certain proteins that are found on the surface of the cancer cells. These are called epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs) and human epidermal growth receptors (HERs).

EGFR and HER proteins usually help cells grow in size and number. However, sometimes the proteins can make the cells grow and multiply faster than usual. This can lead to cancer.

Gilotrif stops EGFR and HER proteins from sending signals that make the cancer cells grow, multiply, and spread. This slows down the growth and spread of the cancer.

How long does it take to work?

Gilotrif starts working soon after you take your first dose. However, you might not notice it working. Your doctor will likely order various tests during your treatment to see how Gilotrif is working for you.

Gilotrif is not safe to take during pregnancy. The drug hasn’t been studied in people who are pregnant. However, based on animal studies and the way Gilotrif works, the medication is expected to be harmful to a developing fetus.

If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor about alternative treatment options for your cancer. If you become pregnant while taking Gilotrif, talk with your doctor right away.

Gilotrif and fertility

It’s not known for sure whether Gilotrif can affect fertility. (This is the ability to become pregnant or make someone pregnant.) Animal studies suggest that Gilotrif may reduce fertility in both males* and females.* However, animal studies don’t always predict what will happen in humans.

If you plan to have children in the future, talk with your doctor. They may recommend storing your sperm or eggs for use in future fertility treatment.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms “female” and “male” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

Gilotrif is not safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re taking Gilotrif.

For more information about taking Gilotrif during pregnancy, see the “Gilotrif and pregnancy” section above.

For females taking Gilotrif. If you’re able to become pregnant, you should use birth control while taking Gilotrif and for 2 weeks after your last dose.

For males taking Gilotrif. Gilotrif’s manufacturer doesn’t have recommendations about birth control for males* taking Gilotrif. If your sexual partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about whether you should use birth control while taking Gilotrif.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms “female” and “male” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

You should not breastfeed while taking Gilotrif and for 2 weeks after your last dose.

It’s not known whether Gilotrif passes into breast milk. If the drug does, it could cause serious side effects in a child who is breastfed.

You can talk with your doctor about healthy ways to feed your child while taking Gilotrif.

This drug comes with several precautions. Before taking Gilotrif, talk with your doctor about your health history. Gilotrif may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:

  • Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Gilotrif or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Gilotrif. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.
  • Kidney problems. If you have severe kidney problems, Gilotrif may build up in your body. This can increase your risk of side effects from the drug. Due to this risk, your doctor may prescribe a decreased dose of Gilotrif to help prevent the drug from building up.
  • Liver problems. Gilotrif can cause and worsen liver problems. Your doctor will order frequent blood tests to check your liver function during treatment with Gilotrif. If you develop new or worsening liver problems, your doctor may reduce your dose. If you develop a severe liver problem, they’ll likely have you stop taking Gilotrif.
  • Older age. In rare cases, Gilotrif can cause gastrointestinal perforation. This condition may be life threatening. You may have an increased risk of this side effect if you’re older than age 65 years. You can talk with your doctor about whether Gilotrif is right for you.
  • Ulcers in stomach or intestine. In rare cases, Gilotrif can cause a hole or tear in the wall of your stomach or intestine called a gastrointestinal perforation. This condition may be life threatening. You may have an increased risk of this side effect if you have or have had ulcers in your stomach or intestine. Ask your doctor whether Gilotrif is the right medication for you.
  • Diverticular disease. In rare cases, Gilotrif can cause gastrointestinal perforation. This condition may be life threatening. Having diverticular disease (pouches in the wall of your large intestine)* or cancer that has spread to your bowels may increase your risk. Talk with your doctor about whether Gilotrif is right for you.
  • Keratitis. In rare cases, Gilotrif can cause keratitis. If not treated, this eye problem can lead to ulcers on your cornea and blindness. You may have an increased risk of this side effect if you have had keratitis in the past. Ask your doctor whether Gilotrif is the right drug for you. If you develop keratitis, they may have you stop treatment with Gilotrif.
  • Dry eyes. In rare cases, Gilotrif can cause keratitis, which is inflammation of your cornea (the front of your eye). If not treated, keratitis can lead to ulcers on your cornea and blindness. If you have very dry eyes, you may have an increased risk of this side effect. Talk with your doctor about whether Gilotrif is right for you. If you develop keratitis, they may stop your treatment with the medication.
  • Contact lenses. In rare cases, Gilotrif can cause keratitis. If not treated, keratitis can lead to ulcers on your cornea and blindness. If you wear contact lenses, you may have an increased risk of this side effect. You can talk with your doctor about whether Gilotrif is the right treatment for you. If you develop keratitis, your doctor may have you stop taking the drug.
  • Heart problems. In rare cases, Gilotrif can cause heart problems, such as left-sided heart failure. If you already have a heart problem, this could make your condition worse.Talk with your doctor about whether Gilotrif is right for you.
  • Pregnancy. Gilotrif is not safe to take during pregnancy. For more information, see the “Gilotrif and pregnancy” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. You should not breastfeed while taking Gilotrif. For more information, see the “Gilotrif and breastfeeding” section above.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Gilotrif, see the “Gilotrif side effects” section above.

* Diverticular disease includes diverticulosis and diverticulitis.

Do not take more Gilotrif than your doctor recommends. For some drugs, doing so may lead to unwanted side effects or overdose.

What to do in case you take too much Gilotrif

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

When you get Gilotrif from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the bottle. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.

The expiration date helps guarantee that the medication is effective during this time. The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications. If you have unused medication that has gone past its expiration date, talk with your pharmacist about whether you might still be able to use it.

Storage

How long a medication remains good to use can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.

You should store Gilotrif tablets at a room temperature of 77°F (25°C) in their original container away from light. Avoid storing this medication in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as bathrooms.

Disposal

If you no longer need to take Gilotrif and have leftover medication, it’s important to dispose of it safely. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident. It also helps keep the drug from harming the environment.

This article provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information about how to dispose of your medication.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.