Cancer Home > Erlotinib

Clinical Effects

In clinical studies, erlotinib has been shown to improve survival in people with NSCLC and pancreatic cancer. In one study, 31 percent of people who took erlotinib for advanced NSCLC were still alive after one year of treatment, compared with 22 percent of people with NSCLC who took a placebo (a "sugar" pill with no active ingredients).
In another study involving people with advanced cancer of the pancreas, 23 percent of those taking erlotinib plus gemcitabine were still living one year later, compared with 19 percent of those who just took gemcitabine.

When and How to Take Erlotinib

Some general considerations to keep in mind during treatment with erlotinib include the following:
  • This medication comes in tablet form. It is normally taken by mouth once a day.
  • Erlotinib should be taken on an empty stomach at least one hour before or two hours after food.
  • Do not drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit while taking this medicine.
  • Try to take your dose at the same time each day to keep an even level of the drug in your bloodstream.
  • For erlotinib to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed.

Dosing Information

The dose of erlotinib your healthcare provider recommends will vary, depending on a number of factors, such as:
  • Why you are using the medication
  • How well you tolerate it
  • Other medical conditions you may have
  • Other medications you are taking.
As is always the case, do not adjust your dose unless your healthcare provider specifically tells you to do so.
(Click Erlotinib Dosage for more information.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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