Tarceva (Erlotinib)

Tarceva is a drug used to treat non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and several other types of cancer. It is a receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor, which acts on the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR).
Active Ingredient: Erlotinib
Dosage Form: Tablet
Dosage: 150 mg Tablet;
Minimum Market Price: $25

General Information

Lung oncology accounts for 12% of all malignant neoplasms in the world being the main cause of oncology lethality deaths. The annual incidence of the disease in Europe is 52.5 / 100,000 and the annual mortality rate is 48.7 / 100,000 total mortality.

  • Tarceva – Erlotinib is a novel anticancer cure, having high efficiency and low unfavorable effects incidence rate.
  • The drug eliminates all external manifestations of the disorder and improves the general status greatly.
  • The greatest results in the treatment are with co-application of Tarceva together with means of correcting the growth of the tumor.
  • The product is manufactured in America licensed by a Swiss pharmaceutical company.

Indications for use:

  1. non-small cells lung cancer;
  2. pancreatic cancer;
  3. Tarceva in combination with Gemcitabine is applied for the initial treatment of patients with advanced stages of pancreatic cancer, in which the tumor has to be removed surgically.

The medicine is sold in the form of white or yellowish color tablets.

The medicine purposefully acts on the receptor of the growth factor of carcinoma cells. It slows down the enzyme tyrosine kinase, blocks the transmission of coded information within the cell. As a result, the cancer cell ceases to reproduce or significantly slows down reproduction.


Contraindications to be observed are as follows:

  • liver function abnormality (9 or more on the SP scale);
  • severe kidney failure;
  • pregnancy;
  • nurse-mother nursing time;
  • expressed hypersensitivity to Erlotinib.

To ensure the safety of treatment inform your doctor about your:

  • lung diseases or breathing problems (not lung cancer itself);
  • disorders of the liver;
  • cases of gastric hemorrhage;
  • poor eyesight;
  • dehydration, as well as if you are smoking or taking out Warfarin.

Use contraceptives in treatment and at least 3 more weeks after the completion of the anticancer scheme. There were only some clinical studies aimed at proving whether Erlotinib can be transferred into breast milk and what effect it has on an infant. Similar studies were conducted in South Africa in 1989, however they cannot be used as s proper evidence base to ensure the safety of the product for this type of application. Therefore, you’d better stop breastfeeding during the medical therapy.

How to Use?

  • The medicine is administered by an expert in anticancer therapy.
  • The dose, frequency and the course of administration are determined by the doctor.
  • The medicine should be taken at the same time of the day each time.
  • Interval between meals: not later than one hour before a meal.
  • It is dangerous to take more than one dose of the active substance at a time, therefore if you have missed to take the medicine once, please restrain from taking more until the next dose is due.
  • The patient can not stop taking the drug on his own, this can only be done by a doctor.
  • If the patient also takes other medications (including vitamins) it is necessary to inform the attending medical doctor.
  • The blood clotting ability must be constantly monitored.


  • World experts recognized Tarceva as an effective medicine in the early fight against non-small cell lung cancer. The basis for this assessment was the numerous studies. Tarceva was tested on patients of different ages.
  • Researches were conducted both in Asian countries and in European countries.
  • The disease according to the information available is often caused by a mutation in the EGFR gene. The active substance of the medicine (Erlotinib) produces the positive effect on this gene.
  • In addition, Erlotinib has a positive effect on patients without mutation of this gene. But the medicine affects the first group most effectively.
  • Thus, if a person belongs to the first group then experts strongly recommend them using this medicine. After all, for the first group this medical preparation is, you might say, a panacea.
  • The medicine is an alternative to chemotherapy. This medication is used in Europe regardless of whether the EGFR gene mutates or not.


The effectiveness of the medicine may change if the patient takes other drugs or supplements other treatments concurrently with this drug. Tell your health care provider about all medicines, vitamins and food supplements that you use. Your doctor will be able to make the correct plan for taking the drug, which will avoid negative interactions.

The medicine can interact with the following drugs:

  • Ciprofloxacin;
  • Ketoconazole;
  • Rifampicin;
  • St. John's wort.


The following side effects are possible: rash on the skin, diarrhea (in mild or moderate form). Usually the rash appears 8 days after the start of taking the drug, but sometimes it may appear in one day. Usually a rash appears on the upper body, on the face, outwardly it resembles a teenage rash. It is impossible to stop taking the drug without indicating a doctor. You should use moisturizing and masking creams, which the dermatologist will approve, and refrain from long stay in the sun.

The attending physician can also prescribe a cure for diarrhea. The patient should eat a food that is easy to digest. The patient should refrain from dairy products, fruits, caffeine, protein and spicy foods. It is recommended to drink a lot of fluids.

The following factors should also be borne in mind:

  • Tarceva can create a risk for the fetus and lead to miscarriages, so women undergoing the treatment should be protected against pregnancy. Breastfeeding when taking the drug is also contraindicated.
  • It is necessary to monitor the work of the liver since this medicine can disrupt the work of this body.
  • It is forbidden to smoke during the treatment because nicotine reduces the concentration of the drug.
  • You should immediately contact a specialist if you have such complaints as:
  • decreased appetite, persistent diarrhea, vomiting and nausea;
  • asthma and cough for no apparent reason;
  • irritation of the eye mucous membranes.


Cancer is a malignant neoplasm that can spread from the place of its original appearance, affecting neighboring tissues and organs. The process is favored by the circulatory and lymphatic systems.

Specialists do not know the causes of oncology until now.

It is only known that the following provokes the appearance of a malignant neoplasm:

  • Heredity (cancer of the breast, ovaries, large intestine, melanoma).
  • Obesity provokes cancer especially in the elderly.
  • Smoking (cancer of the pancreas, lungs, larynx, oral cavity, esophagus, kidney, cervix and bladder).
  • Eating foods with a high percentage of fat content. Incorrect nutrition.

The earlier the cancer is detected, the more likely that the patient will survive.

In case of detection of symptoms of cancer, the doctor directs a patient to the following examinations: ultrasound, computed tomography, blood analysis, X-ray, MRI, endoscopy.

Thanks to these studies, it is possible to determine at what stage the disease passes. Experts in their practice use several types of cancer treatment and sometimes combine together. It depends on the age of the patient, his state of health, the type, stage of cancer and his location. Surgical removal of the tumor is used (often cut out together the nearest tissues), radiotherapy (slowing or destruction of the tumor), chemotherapy (treatment with cytotoxic drugs). It is very important to detect the disease in time and prevent its development. Tarceva's treatment refers to targeted therapy. This is a therapy which blocks the growth and spread of cancer cells by affecting specific molecules that participate in the growth and development of the tumor cell. This kind of treatment can be much more effective than other types of cancer therapy including chemotherapy and radiation therapy. An important feature of targeted therapy is that it affects the healthy cells of the body much less. Cancer cells, like any other cells of the body, need oxygen for life and reproduction, and targeted drugs block oxygen access to tumor tissues.

Target drugs are used in the following case:

  • to stabilize the malignant process and transfer it from the active development stage to the chronic one;
  • as a part of targeted therapy with other types of treatment, which can reduce the dose of chemotherapy or radiation;
  • targeted therapy is also used to prevent the occurrence of recurrence of cancer in the future, as well as to control the growth of cancer metastases;
  • the low toxicity of these drugs makes it possible to apply them in those cases when chemotherapy is contraindicated (for example, in the case of elderly or seriously sick patients).


James: The medicine is effective. The only drawback for me is its high cost. I am 58. I had lung cancer. Chemotherapy was prescribed. I underwent 5 courses of chemotherapy which took 6 months. Then my doctor appointed me Tarceva. I have been taking the medicine for 3 months and I am under medical supervision all the time. Doctors note the improvement. I returned to the usual mode of life. I really hope that everything will be fine.

Conrad: Well this treatment really helped me to avoid a lot of problems, other drug treatment schemes that were applied in my case proved to be completely inefficient. Many thanks to the developers of this superb compound, I can now really tell this saved my life.

Peter: Actually I was prescribed the generics first. In our country you cannot receive this drug for free like in Russia, so Tarceva is prescribed only in case generics proved to be ineffective in some individual case. Well, in my case only original drug finally cause some positive progress.

Tatiana: Unfortunately, the year 2018 started with very bad news for our family. Our dad has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The doctors said that the operation to remove the tumor was very difficult and sent us to the cancer center in Moscow. Dad was successfully operated on in Moscow and the rehabilitation period went well. Then there were several courses of chemotherapy. And now our dad takes Tarceva. He feels much better and does not lose hope.

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