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Tarceva Precautions...Eye Issues, Interactions, etc.


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Below is some information concerning Tarceva (Erlotinib) that I did not know.


Erlotinib can interact with a number of drugs, either raising or lowering the level of erlotinib in your blood. Tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following: rifampin, phenytoin, phenobarbital, St. John’s wort, carbamazepine, itraconazole, ketoconazole, clarithromycin, ritonavir (or other drugs for HIV or AIDS).

Also, grapefruit or grapefruit juice can change the level of erlotinib in your blood so it is recommended that you avoid grapefruit while taking the drug.

A very few cases of interstitial lung disease (ILD) have been seen in patients taking erlotinib. This condition can be very serious. If you develop shortness of breath, coughing, or fever, call your doctor immediately.

Erlotinib can increase liver enzymes in your blood. Therefore, your doctor should check your liver function on a regular basis. The drug should be discontinued if changes are severe. Erlotinib levels may be higher in patients who have liver disease or poor liver function. If you have liver metastasis or liver abnormalities, the doctor may need to monitor you more carefully.

Erlotinib may injure the corneas in your eyes so you should have a full eye exam by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) before starting treatment. You should not wear contact lenses while taking the drug.

If you develop eye problems, diarrhea, liver problems, shortness of breath, cough, or a severe rash, the drug dose may need to be changed. Your nurse or doctor will teach you how to manage nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea if it develops. Make sure that you understand the instructions, and when and who to call if needed.

You might develop a rash on face, neck, chest, back, and arms, beginning on days 8 to 10 of treatment, peaking at 2 weeks, and then getting better by the fourth week.

While you are being treated with erlotinib and after you stop treatment, do not have any immunizations (vaccinations) without your doctor’s okay. Try to avoid contact with people who have recently taken the oral polio vaccine. Check with your doctor about this.

Tell all the doctors, dentists, and pharmacists you visit that you are taking this drug.

* Most of the following side effects probably will not occur.

* Your doctor or nurse will want to discuss specific care instructions with you.

* They can help you understand these side effects and help you deal with them.

Side Effects:

More Common Side Effects:

* Rash on face, neck, chest, back, and arms

* Diarrhea

* Loss of appetite

* Fatigue

Less Common Side Effects:

* Mild headache

* Sore mouth

* Shortness of breath

* Cough

* Nausea/vomiting

* Abnormal liver function tests

Rare Side Efects:

* Inflammation of the cornea in the eye

* Puncture of the cornea

* Gastrointestinal bleeding

Side Effects/Symptoms of the Drug:

Call your doctor or nurse right away if you develop any changes in your vision, eye pain, severe rash, shortness of breath, cough, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea that lasts for more than 1 day.

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The grapefruit, eye exam, and not wearing contact lenses were things I did not know. They are considering putting John's mom on Tarceva and she is a person that eats grapefruit almost every morning.

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