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Gilotrif (Generic Afatinib)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Gilotrif (generic name: afatinib) is a prescription medication primarily used in the treatment of certain types of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). It is specifically indicated for patients with metastatic NSCLC whose tumors have certain genetic mutations, such as those with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations.

EGFR mutations can drive the growth of cancer cells in some individuals with NSCLC. Gilotrif works by inhibiting the activity of EGFR and certain other proteins that play a role in the growth and spread of cancer cells. By blocking these proteins, Gilotrif helps to slow down or stop the growth of cancer cells, potentially leading to tumor shrinkage and improved outcomes for patients with NSCLC.

How should this medicine be used?

Here’s how Gilotrif is typically used:

  • Dosage: The recommended dosage of Gilotrif is usually determined by a healthcare provider based on factors such as the patient’s overall health, the specific type and stage of cancer, and any other medications the patient may be taking.
  • Administration: Gilotrif is usually taken orally once daily, with or without food. It’s important to swallow the tablets whole and not crush or chew them.
  • Follow-up testing: Patients taking Gilotrif may need to undergo regular monitoring, including blood tests and imaging scans, to assess the response to treatment and monitor for any potential side effects.
  • Adherence: It’s crucial for patients to take Gilotrif exactly as prescribed by their healthcare provider. Missing doses or taking more than prescribed can affect the effectiveness of the treatment.
  • Side effects management: Like all medications, Gilotrif can cause side effects. It’s essential for patients to report any side effects to their healthcare provider promptly. Common side effects of Gilotrif may include diarrhea, skin rash, mouth sores, and decreased appetite, among others. Your healthcare provider may provide guidance on managing these side effects.
  • Duration of treatment: The duration of Gilotrif treatment can vary depending on factors such as the response to treatment, disease progression, and tolerability. Patients should continue taking Gilotrif for as long as their healthcare provider recommends, even if they start to feel better.
  • Discontinuation: It’s important not to stop taking Gilotrif without consulting a healthcare provider, even if side effects occur. Suddenly stopping the medication can lead to adverse effects and may not effectively control the cancer.

Patients should consult their healthcare provider for specific instructions on how to take Gilotrif and any other questions or concerns they may have about their treatment.

Other uses for this medicine

Gilotrif (afatinib) is primarily used for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with specific mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene. However, there may be other uses for Gilotrif that are not listed in its official prescribing information. Some healthcare providers may prescribe Gilotrif off-label for certain types of cancer or conditions. However, the use of Gilotrif for these purposes should only be done under the guidance and supervision of a qualified healthcare professional.

What special precautions should I follow?

As for special precautions to follow while taking Gilotrif, here are some key considerations:

  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Gilotrif may harm an unborn baby, so it’s important to use effective contraception during treatment and for at least two weeks after the last dose of Gilotrif for both men and women. It’s also recommended to avoid breastfeeding while taking Gilotrif and for two weeks after the last dose.
  • Liver and kidney function: Gilotrif can affect liver and kidney function. Patients should undergo regular monitoring of liver and kidney function tests while taking Gilotrif.
  • Interstitial lung disease (ILD): ILD, a serious lung disorder, has been reported in patients taking Gilotrif. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing, cough, and fever. Patients should promptly report any new or worsening respiratory symptoms to their healthcare provider.
  • Skin reactions: Gilotrif can cause severe skin reactions, including rash, acne, dry skin, and nail changes. Patients should avoid exposure to sunlight and use sunscreen and protective clothing when outdoors. They should also promptly report any skin changes to their healthcare provider.
  • Eye disorders: Gilotrif may cause eye disorders such as keratitis (inflammation of the cornea) or ulcerative keratitis. Patients should promptly report any eye symptoms, such as eye pain, redness, or sensitivity to light, to their healthcare provider.
  • Diarrhea: Diarrhea is a common side effect of Gilotrif. Patients should stay well-hydrated and report any persistent or severe diarrhea to their healthcare provider.
  • Drug interactions: Gilotrif may interact with other medications, including certain antibiotics, antifungals, and proton pump inhibitors. Patients should inform their healthcare provider about all medications, supplements, and herbal products they are taking before starting Gilotrif.
  • Hepatitis B infection: Gilotrif can cause hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation in patients who are carriers of the virus. Healthcare providers should screen patients for HBV infection before starting Gilotrif.
  • Heart problems: Gilotrif can cause heart problems, including left ventricular dysfunction and heart failure. Patients with a history of heart disease should be closely monitored during treatment.

It’s important for patients to discuss any concerns or questions about Gilotrif with their healthcare provider before starting treatment. Following the prescribed dosage and instructions, as well as regular monitoring, can help maximize the benefits of treatment while minimizing the risk of adverse effects.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

There are no specific dietary restrictions associated with Gilotrif. However, it’s essential to maintain a balanced diet and stay well-hydrated, especially if experiencing diarrhea.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you forget to take a dose of Gilotrif, take it as soon as you remember, unless it’s close to the time for your next scheduled dose. In that case, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Gilotrif (afatinib) can cause a range of side effects, some of which may be common, while others are less common but more severe. It’s essential for patients to be aware of these potential side effects and to promptly report any unusual symptoms to their healthcare provider. Common side effects of Gilotrif may include:

  • Diarrhea: This is one of the most common side effects of Gilotrif. It can range from mild to severe and may require management with antidiarrheal medications.
  • Skin Rash: Many patients experience a rash or acne-like skin reactions while taking Gilotrif. These can range from mild to severe and may require treatment with topical or oral medications.
  • Nail Changes: Gilotrif can cause changes in the nails, such as discoloration, brittleness, or loss of nails.
  • Mouth Sores: Some patients may develop mouth sores or ulcers while taking Gilotrif.
  • Decreased Appetite: A decrease in appetite is a common side effect of Gilotrif, which can lead to weight loss or nutritional deficiencies if severe.
  • Fatigue: Many patients report fatigue or tiredness while taking Gilotrif.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Some patients may experience nausea and vomiting as side effects of Gilotrif.
  • Dry Skin: Gilotrif can cause dryness and itching of the skin, which may require moisturizers or other treatments.
  • Eye Irritation: Gilotrif may cause eye irritation, such as dry eyes or blurred vision.

Less common but more severe side effects of Gilotrif may include:

  • Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD): This is a serious side effect that can cause symptoms such as difficulty breathing, cough, and fever. Patients should promptly report any new or worsening respiratory symptoms to their healthcare provider.
  • Liver Problems: Gilotrif can affect liver function, leading to liver damage or hepatitis. Patients should undergo regular monitoring of liver function tests.
  • Heart Problems: Gilotrif can cause heart problems, including left ventricular dysfunction and heart failure. Patients with a history of heart disease should be closely monitored during treatment.
  • Eye Disorders: Gilotrif may cause eye disorders such as keratitis (inflammation of the cornea) or ulcerative keratitis. Patients should promptly report any eye symptoms to their healthcare provider.
  • Gastrointestinal Perforation: In rare cases, Gilotrif may cause gastrointestinal perforation, which is a serious condition requiring immediate medical attention.

It’s important for patients to discuss any concerns or questions about side effects with their healthcare provider. They can provide guidance on managing side effects and may adjust the treatment plan if necessary to minimize adverse effects.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Storage and Disposal:

  • Storage: Store Gilotrif tablets at room temperature, away from moisture and heat. Keep the medication in its original container with the lid tightly closed.
  • Keep Out of Reach of Children: Store Gilotrif out of reach of children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion.
  • Disposal: Dispose of any unused or expired Gilotrif tablets properly. Do not flush them down the toilet or throw them in the trash. Instead, ask your pharmacist about the best way to dispose of unused medication, following any local regulations or guidelines.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of an overdose or emergency situation related to Gilotrif, such as accidentally taking too much medication, contact emergency medical services (911 in the United States) or your local poison control center immediately. It’s essential to seek medical assistance promptly if you suspect an overdose, as it may lead to severe adverse effects requiring medical intervention.

What other information should I know?

  • Regular Monitoring: Be prepared for regular check-ups with your healthcare provider while taking Gilotrif. These visits may include physical exams, blood tests, imaging scans, and other assessments to monitor your response to treatment and detect any potential side effects or complications.
  • Follow-up Appointments: Attend all follow-up appointments scheduled by your healthcare provider. These visits are essential for monitoring your condition, adjusting treatment as needed, and addressing any concerns or questions you may have.
  • Patient Support Resources: Consider utilizing patient support resources provided by the manufacturer of Gilotrif or other organizations. These resources may include educational materials, support groups, financial assistance programs, and other services to help you navigate your treatment journey.
  • Avoid Grapefruit: Avoid consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice while taking Gilotrif, as it may increase the levels of the medication in your blood and potentially lead to adverse effects.
  • Traveling with Medication: If you need to travel while taking Gilotrif, ensure that you have an adequate supply of medication for the duration of your trip. Keep your medication in its original container and pack it in your carry-on luggage to avoid any issues with lost or damaged luggage.
  • Communication with Healthcare Provider: Maintain open communication with your healthcare provider throughout your treatment with Gilotrif. Inform them of any changes in your health, new symptoms, or concerns you may have. Your healthcare provider is there to support you and ensure that you receive the best possible care.

By following these guidelines and staying informed about the storage, disposal, emergency procedures, and other important information regarding Gilotrif, you can help ensure safe and effective treatment for your condition.

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