Important Information for Your Healthcare ProviderYou should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking this medication if you have:
- Liver disease, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or liver failure
- Kidney disease, such as kidney failure
- A history of heart attack or chest pain
- A history of stroke
- An ulcer in the stomach or upper intestines (peptic ulcer) or diverticular disease (pouches that form in the colon and become inflamed)
- A history of bleeding problems, such as bleeding in the stomach, intestines, or brain
- A smoking habit
- Been treated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- Lung disease or infection of the lungs
- Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant (see Tarceva and Pregnancy)
- Breastfeeding (see Tarceva and Breastfeeding).
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(Click Precautions and Warnings With Erlotinib to learn more, including information on who should not take the drug.)
How Does Erlotinib Work?Kinases are proteins in the body that help regulate cell growth, among other things. Erlotinib works by blocking the action of a specific tyrosine kinase known as epidermal growth factor receptor 1 (EGFR). EGFR tells cancer cells to grow and divide. Therefore, by blocking the action of EGFR, erlotinib can slow down or stop the growth of cancer cells.