contains the active ingredient erlotinib
Consumer Medicine Information
NOTICE: This Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) is intended for persons
living in Australia. This page contains answers to some common
. It does
not contain all the information that is known about
. It does not take the
place of talking to your doctor or pharmacist. All medicines have risks
and benefits. Your doctor has weighed the risk of you using this medicine
against the benefits he/she expects it will have for you. If you have
any concerns about using this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Bookmark or print this page, you may need to read it again.
What TARCEVA is used for
TARCEVA contains the active ingredient erlotinib.
TARCEVA is used for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). It can be given as initial therapy if your cancer
has specific mutations in a protein called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). It can also be given soon after initial
chemotherapy if the chemotherapy has worked, as well as later on when initial chemotherapy has not worked.
TARCEVA is also used in combination with gemcitabine for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
TARCEVA belongs to a group of medicines called anti-neoplastic (or anti-cancer) agents which are used to treat cancer.
TARCEVA prevents the activity of the EGFR protein. This protein is known to be involved in the growth and spread of cancer
Your doctor may have prescribed TARCEVA for another purpose.
Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why TARCEVA has been prescribed for you.
TARCEVA is not addictive.
This medicine is available only with a doctor's prescription.
Before you take TARCEVA
When you must not take it
Do not take TARCEVA if:
you have had an allergic reaction to TARCEVA or any ingredients listed at the end of this leaflet
the package is torn or shows signs of tampering
the expiry date (EXP) printed on the pack has passed
If you take this medicine after the expiry date has passed, it may not work as well.
If you are not sure if you should be taking TARCEVA, talk to your doctor.
Use in children
Do not give TARCEVA to children.
Safety and effectiveness in patients less than 18 years of age have not been established.
Use in elderly
Reduction in dose is not required for elderly patients.
Before you start to take it
Your doctor must know about all the following before you start to take TARCEVA.
Tell your doctor if:
you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
TARCEVA may be harmful to an unborn baby when taken by a pregnant woman. It is not recommended that you take TARCEVA while
you are pregnant.
If you are a woman who could become pregnant use adequate contraception during treatment, and for at least 2 weeks after taking
the last tablet.
If you become pregnant while you are being treated with TARCEVA, tell your doctor immediately.
you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed
It is not known whether erlotinib passes into breast milk. It is not recommended that you breast-feed while taking TARCEVA.
you have liver problems
It is not known whether TARCEVA has a different effect if your liver is not functioning normally.
you have kidney problems
you have a history of stomach ulcers or inflammation of the bowel wall
you are allergic to any other medicines, foods, dyes or preservatives
you cannot tolerate lactose
If you have not told your doctor about any of the above, tell them before you start taking TARCEVA.
Taking other medicines
Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines including any that you have bought without a prescription from a pharmacy,
supermarket or healthfood shop.
Some medicines may interfere with TARCEVA. These medicines include:
antacids, medicines used to treat heartburn and indigestion
atazanavir, a medicine used to treat HIV infection
carbamazepine, a medicine commonly used to treat epilepsy
ciprofloxacin, a medicine used to treat bacterial infection
clarithromycin, a medicine used to treat bacterial infection
corticosteroids, a group of medicines used to treat inflammation
erythromycin, a medicine used to treat bacterial infection
H2 antagonists, a group of medicines used to treat stomach ulcers or reflux
indinavir, a medicine used to treat HIV infection
itraconazole, a medicine used to treat fungal infections
ketoconazole, a medicine used to treat fungal infection
midazolam, a medicine used to induce drowsiness before an operation
nelfinavir, a medicine used to treat HIV infection
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs), a group of medicines commonly used as pain killers
phenobarbital and phenytoin, medicines used to treat epilepsy
statins, a group of medicines used to lower cholesterol
omeprazole, a medicine used for indigestion or stomach ulcers
rifampicin and rifabutin, medicines used to treat bacterial infection
ritonavir, a medicine used to treat HIV infection
saquinavir, a medicine used to treat HIV infection
voriconazole, a medicine used to treat fungal infection
other medicines used to treat cancer
There are some medicines that may still be taken with TARCEVA but may require close supervision by your doctor. These medicines
warfarin, a medicine used to thin the blood
Your doctor will need to regularly monitor you with blood tests.
Your doctor or pharmacist has more information on medicines to be careful with or avoid while taking TARCEVA.
How to take TARCEVA
How much to take
Take TARCEVA exactly as your doctor has prescribed.
Your doctor will tell you how many TARCEVA tablets to take each day.
For non-small-cell lung cancer, the usual dose is one 150 mg tablet each day.
For pancreatic cancer, given in combination with gemcitabine, the usual dose is one 100 mg tablet each day.
How to take it
Swallow the tablets whole with a glass of water.
Do not chew the tablets.
When to take it
Take TARCEVA tablets:
at least 1 hour before you eat or
at least 2 hours after you have eaten
Do not take TARCEVA with food.
How long to take TARCEVA
The duration of treatment with TARCEVA varies, depending on the nature of your illness and your individual response to the
Continue taking TARCEVA until your doctor tells you to stop.
If you forget to take TARCEVA
Do not take an extra dose. Wait until the next dose and take your normal dose then.
Do not try to make up for the dose that you missed by taking more than one dose at a time.
If you are not sure what to do, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
If you take too much (overdose)
Immediately telephone your doctor or Poisons Information Centre (telephone 13 11 26) for advice or go to Accident and Emergency
at your nearest hospital if you think that you or anyone else may have taken too much TARCEVA. Do this even if there are no
signs of discomfort or poisoning.
You may need urgent medical attention.
Keep telephone numbers for these places handy.
If you are not sure what to do, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
While you are taking TARCEVA
Things you must do
Tell all doctors, dentists and pharmacists who are treating you that you are taking TARCEVA.
Tell your doctor if you become pregnant while taking TARCEVA.
Tell your doctor if, for any reason, you have not taken your medicine exactly as prescribed.
Otherwise, your doctor may think that it was not effective and change your treatment unnecessarily.
Tell your doctor if you feel the tablets are not helping your condition.
Be sure to keep all of your appointments with your doctor so that your progress can be checked.
Things you must not do
Do not stop taking TARCEVA or change the dose without first checking with your doctor.
Do not let yourself run out of medicine over the weekend or on holidays.
Do not give TARCEVA to anyone else even if they have the same condition as you.
Do not take any other medicines whether they require a prescription or not without first telling your doctor or consulting
with a pharmacist.
Smokers should stop smoking while taking TARCEVA as blood levels of TARCEVA may be reduced.
Things to be careful of
It is very unlikely that TARCEVA will affect your ability to drive or use machines.
Be careful driving or operating machinery until you know how TARCEVA affects you.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are taking TARCEVA.
TARCEVA helps people with non-small cell lung cancer and pancreatic cancer but it may have unwanted side effects.
All medicines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time they are not. You may need medical treatment
if you get some of the side effects.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist to answer any questions you may have.
Tell your doctor if you notice any of the following and they worry you:
your doctor may need to treat you with an anti-diarrhoeal (e.g. loperamide)
loss of appetite
difficulty in breathing
nausea or vomiting
mouth irritation, sore mouth, mouth ulcers or cold sores
uncomfortable feeling in your stomach or belching after eating
folliculitis (infection of hair follicles)
conjunctivitis, discharge with itching of the eyes and crusty eyelid
nail bed infection or swelling around the nails
rigors or shaking
numbness or weakness of the arms and legs
These are the more common side effects of TARCEVA that you are likely to notice. Your doctor will tell you more about them.
Your doctor may also recommend that you change the dose of TARCEVA that you are taking if you experience any of the above
Tell your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following:
persistent eye pain
severe abdominal pain
persistent loss of appetite
persistent nausea and vomiting
These may be serious side-effects. Your doctor may interrupt your TARCEVA treatment.
Tell your doctor immediately or go to Accident and Emergency at your nearest hospital if you notice any of the following:
difficulty breathing with cough and/or fever
vomiting or passing blood in the urine or faeces
a red or purple rash that spreads
blisters on your skin, especially in your mouth, nose and eyes
shedding of your skin
yellowing of the skin and eyes
light coloured bowel motions
dark coloured urine
These may be very serious side effects. You may need urgent medical attention.
This is not a complete list of all possible side effects. Others may occur in some people and there may be some side effects
not yet known.
Tell your doctor if you notice anything else that is making you feel unwell, even if it is not on this list.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you don't understand anything in this list.
Do not be alarmed by this list of possible side effects. You may not experience any of them.
After taking TARCEVA
Keep your tablets in their container until it is time to take them.
If you take the tablets out of their container they may not keep well.
Keep TARCEVA in a cool dry place where the temperature stays below 30°C.
Do not store it, or any other medicine, in a bathroom or near a sink.
Do not leave it in the car or on window sills.
Heat and dampness can destroy some medicines.
Keep TARCEVA where young children cannot reach it.
A locked cupboard at least one-and-a-half metres above the ground is a good place to store medicines.
If your doctor tells you to stop taking TARCEVA, or the medication has passed its expiry date, ask your pharmacist what to
do with any tablets that are left over.
TARCEVA is available in three strengths, 25 mg, 100 mg and 150 mg.
Each tablet strength comes in packs of 30 tablets.
What TARCEVA looks like
TARCEVA 25 mg tablets are white to yellowish, round tablets with "TARCEVA 25" and logo printed in brownish yellow on one side.
TARCEVA 100 mg tablets are white to yellowish, round tablets with "TARCEVA 100" and logo printed in grey on one side.
TARCEVA 150 mg tablets are white to yellowish, round tablets with "TARCEVA 150" and logo printed in brown on one side.
sodium starch glycollate
sodium lauryl sulfate
The tablets have a film-coating which contains:
The printing ink contains:
iron oxide yellow (CI77492)
iron oxide black (CI77499)
iron oxide red (CI77491)
TARCEVA tablets are gluten free.
TARCEVA is distributed by:
Roche Products Pty Limited
ABN 70 000 132 865
4-10 Inman Road
Dee Why NSW 2099
Customer enquiries: 1 800 233 950
Please check with your pharmacist for the latest Consumer Medicine Information.
Australian Registration Numbers
25 mg - AUST R 114714
100 mg - AUST R 114717
150 mg - AUST R 114721
This leaflet was prepared on 2 July 2012.