Tarceva is a brand-name prescription medication. It’s FDA-approved to treat certain forms of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and pancreatic cancer in adults.

Tarceva is prescribed to treat NSCLC that’s both:

For this use, Tarceva may be prescribed as a first-time treatment or a maintenance (long-term) treatment. It’s also used as a second or later treatment for NSCLC that has progressed (worsened) after treatment with chemotherapy.

Tarceva is also prescribed to treat advanced-stage pancreatic cancer that’s:

For this use, Tarceva is taken with the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine (Gemzar, Infugem). This drug combination is prescribed to adults who have not had chemotherapy for their pancreatic cancer.

Tarceva has certain limitations of use. For additional information, see the “Tarceva uses” section below.

Drug details

Tarceva contains the active ingredient erlotinib. It belongs to a group of drugs called EGFR inhibitors. Tarceva is considered to be a targeted therapy.

The drug comes as an oral tablet that’s available in three strengths:

  • 25 milligrams (mg)
  • 100 mg
  • 150 mg

Effectiveness

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

Tarceva is a brand-name drug that contains the active drug erlotinib. This active drug is also available as a generic medication. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication.

The generic is considered as safe and effective as the original drug. Generic drugs also tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

If you’re interested in taking the generic form of Tarceva, talk with your doctor. They can tell you if it comes in forms and strengths that they can prescribe for your condition.

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

For additional information about the possible side effects of Tarceva, 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 Tarceva, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects* of Tarceva can include:

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. But if they become more severe or do not go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* This is a partial list of mild side effects from Tarceva. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or view Tarceva’s prescribing information.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Tarceva are not 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 if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

* Doctors may prescribe Tarceva with gemcitabine to treat a certain form of pancreatic cancer. For additional information, see the “Tarceva uses” section below.

ALLERGIC REACTION

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Tarceva. However, there were no reports of allergic reactions in the drug’s clinical trials.

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 mouth, tongue, or throat
  • trouble breathing

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

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Tarceva.

Is Tarceva a type of insulin used to treat diabetes?

No. Tarceva is not a type of insulin, and it isn’t used to treat diabetes. Instead, Tarceva is used to treat certain types of cancer. (For additional information, see the “Tarceva uses” section below.)

People may mistake the brand name of “Tarceva” for “Tresiba,” a type of insulin. These two drugs sound alike, which may cause confusion.

To help avoid mix-ups when you’re telling your doctor about your current medications, always explain why you’re taking them. For example, you could say, “I take Tarceva once daily to treat my cancer.” Or “I take Tresiba once daily for my diabetes.”

If you are unsure how to pronounce the name of your medications, you can ask your doctor or pharmacist to help you.

What are the similarities and differences between Tarceva and Tagrisso?

Tarceva and Tagrisso are prescription drugs that are approved to treat certain cancers. They have several similarities and differences. These are outlined in the table below:

DrugTarceva*Tagrisso†
FDA approval year20042015
Drug classEGFR inhibitorEGFR inhibitor
Active ingredienterlotinibosimertinib
Formoral tabletoral tablet
Dose frequencyonce dailyonce daily
Useto treat specific types of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), or pancreatic cancer in certain adultsto treat certain types of NSCLC in adults

* For additional details about Tarceva, see the “What is Tarceva?” section above and the “Tarceva dosage” and “Tarceva uses” sections below.
† To learn more about Tagrisso, see this article.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends osimertinib over erlotinib as a first-time treatment for metastatic NSCLC in certain adults. This is because osimertinib has been shown to stop cancer growth for a longer period.

For additional information about how Tarceva and Tagrisso compare, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

How long does Tarceva extend life?

It depends. In clinical trials for NSCLC and pancreatic cancer, people who took Tarceva had longer progression-free survival than people who took a placebo. (Progression-free survival is how long someone lives before their cancer worsens. A placebo is a treatment that contains no active drug.)

Keep in mind that the individual results of cancer treatments, including Tarceva, can vary. Talk with your doctor about what to expect with your condition.

Is Tarceva approved to treat breast cancer?

Tarceva isn’t approved to treat breast cancer. In a clinical trial, erlotinib (the active drug in Tarceva) was not shown to be more effective than other breast cancer treatments.

If you have questions about breast cancer treatments or the uses of Tarceva, talk with your doctor. You can also see the “Tarceva uses” section below.

Does Tarceva cause hair loss?

No, Tarceva should not cause hair loss. This side effect was not reported in Tarceva’s clinical trials. However, Tarceva treatment may make your hair thinner, curlier, or drier. It may also cause hirsutism (new or increased growth of body hair) as a side effect.*

Hair loss may occur if you take Tarceva with the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine (Gemzar, Infugem). (Tarceva is prescribed with gemcitabine to treat advanced-stage pancreatic cancer.)† And as with other chemotherapy drugs, gemcitabine may cause hair loss as a side effect.

Talk with your doctor if you’re concerned about hair loss during your treatment. They may suggest ways to manage your hair loss.

* To learn more about Tarceva’s side effects, see the “Tarceva side effects” section above.
† For additional information about the approved uses of Tarceva, see the “Tarceva uses” section below.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Tarceva to treat certain conditions. Tarceva 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.

Tarceva for non-small cell lung cancer

Tarceva is FDA-approved to treat non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in adults whose cancer is both:

Before prescribing Tarceva, your doctor will order tests to check for EGFR gene mutations. Tarceva is approved to treat metastatic NSCLC with certain mutations. These are called exon 19 deletion or exon 21 substitution (also called an L858R point mutation).

For this use, Tarceva can be prescribed as a first-time treatment or a maintenance (long-term) treatment. It’s also used as a second or later treatment for cancer that’s progressed (worsened) after treatment with chemotherapy.

Limitations of use

Tarceva has limitations of use. Tarceva treatment is not recommended with chemotherapy drugs that contain platinum. Examples include carboplatin and cisplatin.

Also, it’s unknown if Tarceva is safe or effective for people whose cancer has gene mutations other than those described above.

Note: Tarceva is not a chemotherapy drug. It’s considered to be a targeted therapy. For additional information, see the “How Tarceva works” section below.

Non-small cell lung cancer explained

Genes are made up of DNA, and they provide instructions for our bodies to make proteins. EGFR is a protein that helps cells grow and multiply (produce more cells). If gene mutations occur, EGFR may function abnormally. This can cause cells to grow and multiply faster than usual. This may lead to certain types of cancer, including NSCLC.

Symptoms of NSCLC may include:

EGFR mutations and NSCLC may occur in people who smoke and in those who have never smoked. If you smoke, your doctor will recommend you quit. This is because quitting can help ease certain symptoms of lung cancer.

If you quit smoking during Tarceva treatment, be sure to talk with your doctor. They’ll likely adjust your dosage. (For additional information, see the “Tarceva dosage” and “Tarceva precautions” sections below.)

To learn more about treating lung cancer, refer to Medical News Today’s lung cancer hub.

Effectiveness for non-small cell lung cancer

Tarceva is effective for treating the type of NSCLC described above. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network includes Tarceva as an option in their treatment guidelines for metastatic NSCLC.

To learn more about how Tarceva performed in clinical trials, see the drug’s prescribing information. And if you have questions about whether Tarceva is right for you, talk with your doctor.

Tarceva for pancreatic cancer

Tarceva is also FDA-approved to treat advanced-stage pancreatic cancer in adults whose cancer is:

For this use, Tarceva is taken with the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine (Gemzar, Infugem). This drug combination is prescribed to adults who haven’t had chemotherapy for their pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer explained

Pancreatic cancer occurs when cells in the pancreas grow and multiply (produce more cells) faster than usual. Pancreatic cancer typically doesn’t cause symptoms until it spreads and becomes more advanced.

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer may include:

To read more about cancer, you can refer to Medical News Today’s cancer hub.

Effectiveness for pancreatic cancer

Tarceva is effective for treating the type of pancreatic cancer described above. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends treating pancreatic cancer with erlotinib (the active ingredient in Tarceva) and gemcitabine.

To learn more about how Tarceva performed in clinical trials, see the drug’s prescribing information. And if you have questions about whether Tarceva is right for you, talk with your doctor.

Tarceva and children

Tarceva is not approved for use in children. It’s unknown if the drug is safe or effective for children with NSCLC or pancreatic cancer.

Tarceva is approved to treat certain types of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and pancreatic cancer in adults. (For additional information, see the “Tarceva uses” section above.)

To treat advanced-stage pancreatic cancer, Tarceva is prescribed with a drug called gemcitabine (Gemzar, Infugem). This drug combination is prescribed to adults who haven’t had chemotherapy for their pancreatic cancer.

Gemcitabine is a type of chemotherapy drug that belongs to a drug class called antimetabolites. The drug works to help stop rapidly growing cells from multiplying (producing more cells) in the body. It may also work to kill cancer cells.

Gemcitabine is given as an IV infusion by a healthcare professional. Your doctor will explain how often you’ll need to get gemcitabine. They’ll also explain what to expect while receiving this drug.

If you have questions about taking Tarceva with other drugs, talk with your doctor.

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

  • the type of cancer you’re using Tarceva to treat
  • whether or not you smoke cigarettes
  • other medications you may take

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended dosages. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Drug form

Tarceva comes as an oral tablet.

Drug strengths (25 mg, 100 mg, and 150 mg)

Tarceva is available in three strengths:

  • 25 milligrams (mg)
  • 100 mg
  • 150 mg

Dosage for non-small cell lung cancer

The typical dosage of Tarceva for non-small cell lung cancer is 150 mg once daily.

If you smoke cigarettes, your doctor may prescribe a higher initial dose (starting dose) of Tarceva. If you quit smoking during treatment, they’ll likely lower your dose to the typical recommended dose.

Note: If you smoke, your doctor will recommend you quit smoking before starting Tarceva treatment. If you have lung cancer, quitting can help ease certain symptoms of your condition. Be sure to talk with your doctor if you quit smoking during Tarceva treatment.

Dosage for pancreatic cancer

The typical dosage of Tarceva for pancreatic cancer is 100 mg once daily.

If you smoke cigarettes, your doctor may give you a higher initial dose of Tarceva. If you quit smoking during treatment, they’ll likely lower your dose to the typical recommended dose.

Note: If you smoke, your doctor will recommend you quit smoking before starting Tarceva treatment. Be sure to talk with your doctor if you quit smoking during Tarceva treatment.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Tarceva, take it as soon as possible on an empty stomach. However, if it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose.

Do not take two doses at a time to make up for a missed dose. Doing so could increase your risk of side effects. (To learn more about side effects of Tarceva, see the “Tarceva side effects” section above.)

To help make sure that you do not miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or downloading a reminder app on your phone.

How long can you take Tarceva?

If you and your doctor determine that Tarceva is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term. This medication may help some people live longer without their cancer getting worse.

If you have questions about how long you’ll take this drug, talk with your doctor.

Other drugs are available that can treat your condition. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Tarceva, 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.

Alternatives for non-small cell lung cancer

Examples of other EGFR inhibitor drugs that may be used to treat non-small cell lung cancer include:

Alternatives for pancreatic cancer

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat pancreatic cancer include:

  • erlotinib
  • gemcitabine (Gemzar, Infugem)
  • fluorouracil (commonly called 5-FU)
  • oxaliplatin (Eloxatin)
  • leucovorin
  • liposomal irinotecan (Onivyde)
  • paclitaxel, albumin-bound (Abraxane)

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

Tarceva comes as an oral tablet. You’ll swallow Tarceva on an empty stomach. And you’ll take it at least 1 hour before eating or 2 hours after eating.

When to take

There isn’t a best time of day to take Tarceva. However, taking the medication around the same time each day helps keep a steady level of the drug in your body. This helps Tarceva work effectively.

Keep in mind no matter when you take Tarceva, be sure to take it on an empty stomach. This should be at least 1 hour before you eat food or 2 hours after you eat food.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or downloading 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 medication bottles, ask your pharmacist if they can put Tarceva in an easy-open container. They also may be able to recommend tools that can make it simpler to open lids.

Taking Tarceva with food

You should not take Tarceva with food. This is because taking Tarceva with food may increase the risk of side effects from the drug. (To learn more, see the “Tarceva side effects” section above.)

Be sure to swallow Tarceva on an empty stomach. This will be at least 1 hour before eating or 2 hours after eating.

Can Tarceva be crushed, split, or chewed?

The manufacturer of Tarceva doesn’t have any information on crushing, splitting, or chewing Tarceva tablets. So, it’s best to swallow the tablet whole.

If you have trouble swallowing pills, talk with your doctor. They may suggest a different treatment option for you. You can also view this article.

Tarceva can interact with several other medications. It can also interact with certain supplements as well as 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.

Tarceva and other medications

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

Before taking Tarceva, 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.

Medications that could interact with Tarceva include:

  • CYP inhibitors. Taking these drugs with Tarceva may increase the risk of side effects* from Tarceva. If you need to take these drugs, your doctor may reduce your Tarceva dose.† Examples of these drugs include:
    • the antibiotic ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
  • CYP inducers. Taking Tarceva with CYP inducers can decrease the effectiveness of Tarceva. If you need to take CYP inducers, your doctor will likely increase your Tarceva dose.† If you stop taking a CYP inducer, tell your doctor right away. This is so they can adjust your dosage. Examples of these drugs include:
    • the antibiotic rifampin
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Taking PPIs during Tarceva treatment can decrease the effectiveness of the drug. You should not take PPIs while taking Tarceva. Examples of PPIs include:
  • H-2 receptor antagonists (H2Ras). H2Ras, also called H2 receptor blockers, can decrease the effectiveness of Tarceva. Due to this interaction, your doctor will recommend you take your Tarceva dose† at least 10 hours after a dose of an H2RA drug. And they’ll recommend you take your Tarceva dose at least 2 hours before the next dose of the H2RA drug. Examples of H2Ras include:
    • cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • Antacids. Antacids may increase the risk of side effects* from Tarceva treatment or decrease Tarceva’s effectiveness. If you need to take an antacid, your doctor will recommend you separate the antacid and your Tarceva dose† by several hours. Examples of antacids include:
    • Maalox
    • Tums
    • Rolaids

Certain other medications may not be safe to take during Tarceva treatment. These include:

  • Chemotherapy drugs that contain platinum, such as carboplatin or cisplatin. Taking these drugs with Tarceva may decrease the effectiveness of Tarceva in treating non-small cell lung cancer.
  • Warfarin (Jantoven), a blood thinner drug. Severe and fatal bleeding has occurred in people who took both warfarin and Tarceva. If you take warfarin, your doctor will monitor you very closely while you take Tarceva.

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

* For additional information about Tarceva’s side effects, see the “Tarceva side effects” section above.
† To learn more about Tarceva’s dosage, see the “Tarceva dosage” section above.

Tarceva and herbs and supplements

St. John’s wort is a herb believed to help treat depression. Taking this herb with Tarceva can decrease the effectiveness of the drug.

Other herbs or supplements may interact with Tarceva. Be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any of these products while taking Tarceva.

Tarceva and foods

Grapefruit may interact with Tarceva. So, it’s best to avoid grapefruit or grapefruit juice while taking Tarceva. Consuming grapefruit may increase the risk of side effects* of Tarceva.

It’s important to note that you should swallow Tarceva on an empty stomach. This should be at least 1 hour before eating or 2 hours after eating food. This is because taking Tarceva with food may increase the risk of side effects from the drug.

* For additional information about Tarceva’s side effects, see the “Tarceva side effects” section above.

Alcohol isn’t known to interact with Tarceva.

However, excessive alcohol use may lead to liver problems. And Tarceva may cause serious liver problems as a side effect.* So, your doctor may recommend you do not drink excessive alcohol while taking Tarceva.

Talk with your doctor to check if it’s safe for you to drink alcohol while taking Tarceva. And talk with them about how much alcohol is safe for you to drink.

* For additional information about Tarceva’s side effects, see the “Tarceva side effects” section above.

Tarceva contains the active ingredient erlotinib. It belongs to a group of drugs called EGFR inhibitors.

Tarceva is a type of targeted therapy. These drugs are designed to have specific targets in the body.

Specifically, Tarceva targets a protein called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). EGFR is a protein that usually helps cells grow and multiply (produce more cells). In certain cancers, this protein may function abnormally. This may cause cells to grow and multiply faster than usual.

Tarceva works by blocking the EGFR protein. This can slow cancer from growing and spreading. So Tarceva may help some people live longer without their cancer getting worse.

If you have questions about how Tarceva works to treat your cancer, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

How long does it take Tarceva to work?

Tarceva starts working as soon as you take your first dose. However, you may not “feel” that Tarceva is working. Your doctor will order tests during your treatment to check if the drug is working as expected.

If you have questions about whether Tarceva is working for you, talk with your doctor.

As with all medications, the cost of Tarceva can vary. To find current prices for Tarceva 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 Tarceva. 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 Tarceva at a specialty pharmacy. This type of pharmacy is authorized to carry specialty medications. These are drugs that may be expensive or may require assistance from a healthcare professional to help you use them safely and effectively.

Before approving coverage for Tarceva, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means that 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 Tarceva, contact your insurance company.

Financial assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Tarceva, help is available.

Medicine Assistance Tool lists programs that may aid in lowering the cost of Tarceva. For additional information and to find out if you’re eligible for support, visit the organization’s website.

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

Mail-order pharmacies

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

If recommended by your doctor, you may be able to receive a 90-day supply of Tarceva, 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 do not have insurance, you can ask your doctor or pharmacist about online pharmacy options.

Generic version

Tarceva is available in a generic form called erlotinib. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. The generic is considered as safe and effective as the original drug. And generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

To find out how the cost of erlotinib compares to the cost of Tarceva, visit WellRx.com.

If your doctor has prescribed Tarceva and you’re interested in taking erlotinib instead, talk with your doctor. They may have a preference for one version or the other. You’ll also need to check your insurance plan, as it may only cover one or the other.

Tarceva is likely not safe to take during pregnancy. Your doctor likely probably won’t prescribe Tarceva if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

There haven’t been any clinical trials of Tarceva in pregnant people. However, in animal studies, fetal death occurred after pregnant animals were given very high doses of Tarceva. Typical doses did not cause harmful effects. However, keep in mind that animal studies don’t always reflect what could happen in humans.

If you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy, talk with your doctor about the best treatment option for you during this time.

Tarceva is likely 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 Tarceva.

For additional information about taking Tarceva during pregnancy, see the “Tarceva and pregnancy” section above.

For females taking Tarceva

If you’re female and can get pregnant, talk with your doctor about birth control options while taking Tarceva. They’ll recommend using birth control during your Tarceva treatment and for 1 month after your last dose.

For males taking Tarceva

There are no specific birth control recommendations for males taking Tarceva. If you’re male and your sexual partner can get pregnant, talk with your doctor about whether you should use birth control during Tarceva treatment.

Note: Sex and gender exist on spectrums. The terms “female” and “male” in this article refer to sex assigned at birth.

It’s not safe to breastfeed while taking Tarceva.

Clinical trials did not study the drug’s effects on breast milk or breastfed children. However, you should not breastfeed while taking Tarceva due to the potential for serious side effects. And you should avoid breastfeeding for at least 2 weeks after your last dose.

If you’re currently breastfeeding and considering Tarceva treatment, talk with your doctor about other ways to feed your child.

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

  • Cigarette smoking. Smoking tobacco cigarettes can decrease the levels of Tarceva in your body. This can make Tarceva less effective. Before taking Tarceva, be sure to tell your doctor if you smoke cigarettes. If so, they’ll prescribe you a higher dose of this drug. Your doctor will also recommend you quit smoking. If you do, tell your doctor right away so that they can adjust your Tarceva dosage.*
  • Stomach ulcers or diverticulitis. Rarely, Tarceva may cause tearing of your stomach or intestines. If you’ve had stomach ulcers or diverticulitis, you may have a higher risk of these side effects while taking Tarceva. Talk with your doctor to discuss the risks and benefits of taking Tarceva to treat your cancer.
  • Liver or kidney problems. Serious cases of dehydration and liver or kidney failure have been reported during Tarceva treatment. If you have liver or kidney problems, you may have an increased risk of these side effects. So, it’s important to talk with your doctor about your health history and current medications. If these factors affect your liver or kidneys, your doctor will likely monitor you closely if they prescribe you Tarceva.
  • Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Tarceva or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Tarceva. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.
  • Pregnancy. Tarceva is likely not safe to take during pregnancy. For additional information, see the “Tarceva and pregnancy” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. It’s not safe to breastfeed while taking Tarceva. For more details, see the “Tarceva and breastfeeding” section above.

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

* For information about dosage, see the “Tarceva dosage” section above.

Do not take more Tarceva 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 Tarceva

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. However, if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

When you get Tarceva 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 taking expired medications. If you have unused medication that has gone past the 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 Tarceva tablets at room temperature, 25°C (77°F) in a tightly sealed container. If you’re traveling with the drug, you can temporarily store Tarceva at temperatures ranging from 15°C to 30°C (59°F to 86°F). Avoid storing this medication in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as bathrooms.

Disposal

If you no longer need to take Tarceva 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.