This medication is used by patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. It is also used with gemcitabine (another anticancer drug) for the treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer.

 IUPAC name: N-(3-ethynylphenyl)-6,7-bis(2-methoxyethoxy)quinazolin-4-amine

Drug class: Antineoplastic; Tyrosine Kinase inhibitor

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Route of administration: Oral

Is it a drug that needs a prescription? YES

Is it an OTC drug? NO

Mechanism of action

Erlotinib works as an EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor, reducing or preventing the growth and proliferation of cancerous cells by blocking abnormal EGFR signaling pathways.

Side effects

Erlotinib side effects include nausea, vomiting, dry skin, diarrhea, sore mouth, discomfort in joints/bones or muscles, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, edema, weakness, swelling of the mouth, taste changes, rash, shortness of breath, visual problems, and weight loss.


Before using this medication, take the following precautions and notify your doctor:

  • If you are allergic to it or have any other allergies,
  • If you are taking any other medication (prescribed, non-prescribed, or herbal products),
  • If you have been treated with radiation therapy or chemotherapy,
  • If you have a medical history of ulcers in your stomach, lung problems, hepatic or kidney disease,
  • If you smoke or use tobacco products, the efficiency of this drug may be reduced.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption.
  • If you have any surgery,
  • Avoid going out in the sunlight as it may increase the risk of rashes while using erlotinib.
  • You should not get pregnant while taking this medication.
  • This medication is not recommended during pregnancy.
  • Breastfeeding should be avoided while the treatment is going on and for the next 2 weeks after stopping the use of this drug.

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