Iressa Versus Tarceva For Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer | Qua Kim Huynh, PharmD Intern | RxEconsult

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Iressa (gefitinib) Versus Tarceva (erlotinib) For Lung Cancer Category: Cancer by - October 19, 2016 | Views: 29238 | Likes: 0 | Comment: 0  

Effect of Iressa versus Tarceva

Japanese patients (n=561) with previously treated lung adenocarcinoma were randomly assigned to receive Iressa or Tarceva. The purpose of the study was to show that Iressa is not less effective than Tarceva based on their effect on progressional-free survival. The effect of each drug on overall survival time and the response rate was also measured.

The median progression-free survival for all patients was 6.5% for the Iressa group and 7.5 months for the Tarceva group. The median progression-free survival for patients with EGFR mutations was 8.3 for the Iressa group and 10 months for the Tarceva group. The overall survival time for all patients treated with Iressa was 22.8 months versus 24.5 months for those treated with Tarceva. The response rate was 45.9% for the Iressa group and 44.1% for the Tarceva group. The authors concluded that the study did not show that Iressa is not worse than Tarceva. 

How are Iressa and Tarceva administered?

The recommended dose of Iressa is a 250 mg tablet by mouth once daily with or without food and the recommended dose of Tarceva is a 150 mg tablet by mouth once daily on an empty stomach.

What is the cost of Iressa compared to Tarceva?

Average wholesale price for a bottle of 30 tablets of Iressa 250 mg is $8683.20 versus $8694.85 for Tarceva 150 mg.

Side effects of Iressa vs Tarceva?

Iressa and Tarceva have similar side effects. Both drugs commonly cause skin reactions, vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased appetite or weight loss. Other common side effects of Iressa include conjunctivitis, nail disorders, and stomatitis while Tarceva also causes shortness of breath and cough.

Serious adverse reactions of Iressa and Tarceva include: 

  • interstitial lung disease 
  • liver toxicity 
  • a tear in the stomach wall
  • severe or persistent diarrhea
  • eye problems
  • skin disorders

Tarceva is also associated with kidney failure, stroke, hemolytic anemia, and thrombocytopenia.

Next: Drug Interactions 

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