The FDA published a new video warning on the adverse effects of erlotinib (Tarceva). Erlotinib is a chemotherapeutic agent; used to treat certain types of non-small cell lung cancer. It is also used together with gemcitabine to treat pancreatic cancer. Erlotinib is a type of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor.

The warning includes serious adverse effects such as:

Gastrointestinal perforation (with very high mortality). This risk is increased in patients receiving concomitant anti-angiogenic therapy, corticosteroids, NSAIDs, or taxane-based chemotherapy, and it is also greater in those with a history of peptic ulceration or diverticular disease. Erlotinib (Tarceva) should be permanently discontinued if the patient develops gastrointestinal perforation.

Dermatologic adverse effects: these may include Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis.

Ophthalmic adverse effects: such as corneal perforation or ulceration.

Further reading

Dear Healthcare Professional Letter – OSI – Genentech

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