Cancer Home > Erlotinib

Erlotinib is approved to treat two types of cancer: non-small cell lung cancer and pancreatic cancer. In particular, it is used for advanced cases of either type. The medication works by blocking the action of a protein in the body that tells cancer cells to grow and divide. Nausea, fatigue, and a rash are some of the most commonly reported side effects.

What Is Erlotinib?

Erlotinib (Tarceva®) is a prescription medication approved to treat late-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has not gotten better after treatment with at least one chemotherapy medication. It is also approved to treat advanced pancreatic cancer in combination with gemcitabine (Gemzar®), another cancer medication.
 
(Click What Is Erlotinib Used For? for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)
 

Are There Side Effects?

Just like any medicine, erlotinib can cause side effects. Although not everyone who uses the drug will experience problems, most people will experience adverse reactions during treatment.
 
If reactions do occur, in many cases, you or your healthcare provider can treat them. Serious side effects are less common.
 
Common side effects of erlotinib include but are not limited to:
 
(Click Erlotinib Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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