Giotrif is a lung cancer medication that is used to treat patients who have a specific type of lung cancer called metastatic non-small cell. It’s used when the tumors have activating epidermal growth factor receptor mutations. When patients with metastatic or locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) have a squamous histology, it may be used during or after the use of platinum-based chemotherapy.

The active ingredient in this medication is afatinib. It’s used for those with particularly advanced cases of NSCLC. It’s used when a mutation in a gene for EGFR, a protein, hasn’t been treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitor medications. It’s also used when the case is a squamous cell type and worsens even with platinum-based chemotherapy treatment.

Afatinib is a medication that is classified as an ErbB family blocker. It blocks the actions performed by the ErbB family of proteins, a group of several proteins. These can be found on the cancer cells’ surfaces and stimulate these cancer cells to divide. When this medication blocks the proteins in this group, it keeps these cells from dividing so that the growth of the NSCLC is slowed.

This medication has been shown to delay the progression of NSCLC significantly. Patients have been found to live longer when taking this medication. A primary study found that patients could live an extra four months when taking this medication.

Precautions and Warnings of Giotrif 

There are several warnings that patients should know about before they take this medication. One of these is that, in rare cases, this medication has caused an injury to the eye called a corneal perforation. If you have vision changes or severe pain in your eye, let your doctor know immediately. This serious injury affects the area of the eye that focuses light.

It’s also possible to become several dehydrated while taking Giotrif. This can happen because of drinking less fluids, vomiting, or severe diarrhea. Dehydration can cause kidneys to fail in severe cases. While you take this medication, you should be sure to drink plenty of water. You will likely get blood tests to assess your kidney function. Diarrhea happens in many patients who take Giotrif. This should be treated as soon as possible. If yours doesn’t go away when you take the proper medication, let your doctor know immediately.

These tablets have lactose in them. If you’re lactose intolerant, be sure to tell your doctor. In rare cases, this medication can cause the intestines or stomach to get holes. If you have vomiting, abdominal pain, tarry, black stools, or fever, this may have happened, and you need to talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

Giotrif can reduce the heat’s ability to pump blood. If you have any heart problems in your health history, talk to your doctor about them. You may need to have a unique dosing of this medication and need to have your heart health monitored. If you get unusual fatigue, swelling in the extremities, or have difficulty breathing, contact your doctor immediately.

Interstitial lung disease (ILD) is a rare but severe complication. If you have other lung problems, like inflammation, you have a higher risk of dying from ILD. ILD can cause people to have a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If this happens, you need immediate medical care.

It’s possible to develop kidney or liver problems from taking this medication. If you already have any kidney problems, make sure your doctor knows. A kidney problem can cause reduced kidney function that causes Giotrif to build up in your system, leading to side effects. This medication can cause liver function changes that cause liver tests to have abnormal results. If you have severe liver function changes, you may need to have your dose of this medication changed or stop taking it altogether. People who already have poor liver function shouldn’t take Giotrif.

This medication can also cause a patient’s nail beds to be inflamed and swollen. It can cause redness and pain that are around the nails. The nails can become shaped abnormally, have a different color, or become detached. Take good care of your skin while using this medication. Be sure to wash your hands often and keep them dry and clean. Avoid getting any injuries to your nails. Don’t use nail products or handle detergents and harsh soaps. Get immediate medical attention if you get a rash with discomfort or fever or a fast-spreading rash.

This medication hasn’t been tested for safety in children. It has also not been tested on those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. It’s best to use an effective birth control method while using this medication. It’s unknown whether it will pass into breast milk. When elderly patients take this medication, they may have a higher risk of developing side effects. This is especially true for diarrhea.

Side Effects of Giotrif 

There are other side effects (besides the ones mentioned below) that can happen that can be serious and require medical attention. These include any signs of liver problems such as pale stools, dark urine, yellowing of the eyes or skin, weight loss, and diarrhea or vomiting. It’s also important to watch for any problems with kidney function, like having less urine or having bloody urine. You may also have signs of having low potassium. These include an irregular heartbeat, fatigue, weakness, or muscle cramps. This medication can also cause an eye infection, fever, rash, and pain and swelling in the soles of the feet or the palms of the hands. If you have any side effects, contact your doctor about them.

The most common side effects of this medication include:

  • Dry skin
  • Itching
  • Acne-like skin issues
  • Stomatitis – the lining of the mouth getting inflamed
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Nail bed infection
  • Reduced appetite
  • Nosebleeds
  • Rash
  • Changed sense of taste
  • Dry eyes
  • Heartburn
  • Muscle spasms
  • Weight loss
  • Running nose

Giotrif Drug Interactions

Many medications can interfere with Giotrif. These include certain HIV medications, such as saquinavir, nelfinavir (Viracept), and ritonavir. Several other medicines can also interact poorly with Giotrif. These include tacrolimus, ciclosporin, itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole, Rifadin, erythromycin, verapamil, amiodarone, carbamazepine (found in Tegretol), phenobarbital, phenytoin (found in Dilantin), quinidine, sulfasalazine, and rosuvastatin (Crestor). It can also react with products from the herb St. John’s wort.

Giotrif Strengths and Dosages

This medication is available in tablet form. These come in 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg, and 50 mg. The usual dose is 40 mg once a day, which might increase to 50 mg daily for those who do well with the 40 mg dosage. It may be lowered in those who have a lot of side effects from the medication. They are to be taken without any food. It’s supposed to be taken at least three hours after you’ve eaten something and at least an hour before you eat again.

Tablet strengths:20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg, 50 mg

Questions and Answers About Giotrif

What is this medication used for?

It’s used to treat specific types of lung cancer in particular conditions. It is generally used for malignant non-small cell lung cancer that hasn’t responded to specific treatments and is still spreading.

Is this an expensive drug?

Yes, without insurance to pay for all or part of it, this medication has a very high retail price.

Does this medication have side effects?

While some people may not have any side effects from Giotrif, many are possible. Patients may get anything from fingernail infections to liver damage to severe diarrhea with this medication. Keep your doctor informed about the side effects you have while taking it.

Can this medication be used for any other cancers besides lung cancer?

No, it’s virtually always used to treat certain types of lung cancer in specific conditions.

Can children use this medication?

There aren’t any studies about its effects on children. If the conditions are right, it could be prescribed to a child if needed.

What is the average cost of Giotrif in America?

This costly medication can cost about $12,000 for a 30-day supply of these tablets. It can cost significantly less when you have health insurance to pay part of the cost. You may owe a small co-pay for this medication if you’ve met your yearly deductible. If you haven’t, you may be able to pay a lower price than your insurance company has negotiated for its policyholders.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. It should not be taken as an endorsement of any specific medication or treatment. Individual health conditions and responses to treatment can vary greatly; therefore, this information should not be seen as a guarantee of safety, suitability, or effectiveness for any particular individual. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice and before making any decisions regarding your health or treatment plans.

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