Adverse Effects Of Iressa (gefitinib)
Iressa (gefitinib) is a once-daily oral tablet used to treat people who have non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has spread to other parts of their body and the cancer cells have abnormal epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) genes. Although treatment with Iressa is effective, this medication has some important side effects that patients and prescribers should know how to manage in order to improve outcomes. Here are some side effects of Iressa and how to manage them.
Skin reactions including dry skin, redness, rash, itching, exfoliative dermatitis, folliculitis, and acne have been observed in 47% of patients. Epidermal necrolysis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome and erythema multiforme have also been reported. Patients should seek medical attention if their skin starts to peel or blister.
Dry skin may be treated with moisturizing creams. Eczema associated symptoms like redness, rash, and itching can be managed with mid-potency steroid cream (mometasone furoate cream 0.1%) and non-sedating anti-histamines (levocetirizine 5 mg by mouth twice daily for one week).
Mild acne can be managed with anti-acne lotions (benzoyl peroxide 2.5% wash, 1% clindamycin lotion). More serious skin reactions require stopping treatment and treatment with oral antihistamines and antibiotics such as minocycline or doxycycline.
Eye problems such as keratitis, corneal erosion, aberrant eyelash growth, blepharitis, conjunctivitis, and dry eyes occur in up to 6.7% of Iressa treated patients. Patients should contact their healthcare provider immediately if they experience eye-related side effects. Treatment may need to be reduced or discontinued for severe or worsening symptoms.
Keratitis and dry eyes can be managed with artificial tears and lubricants to promote hydration to the cornea. Topical corticosteroids (fluorometholone or prednisolone drops) may be prescribed for the short-term management of inflammation or epithelial damage.