Generic Name: afatinib (a FAT i nib)
Brand Names: Gilotrif
What is Gilotrif?
Gilotrif (afatinib) is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.
Gilotrif is used to treat a certain type of non-small cell lung cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is used for this condition only if your tumor has a specific genetic marker for which your doctor will test.
Gilotrif is also used to treat squamous non-small cell lung cancer that has spread to other parts of the body after other cancer medicine has been tried without successful treatment.
Minimize sun exposure with protective clothing and use of sunscreen while taking Gilotrif tablets.
Diarrhea occurs in nearly all patients who receive Gilotrif. Severe diarrhea may result in dehydration and renal impairment. Call your doctor if you are sick with severe diarrhea, or diarrhea lasting longer than 2 days.
Call your doctor at once if you experience eye pain, swelling, redness, blurred vision, or other vision change.
Call your doctor at once if you experience any of the following: new onset or worsening shortness of breath or exercise intolerance, cough, fatigue, swelling of the ankles/legs, palpitations, or sudden weight gain.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use Gilotrif if you are allergic to afatinib.
To make sure Gilotrif is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
breathing problems or lung disease other than cancer; or
vision problems, very dry eyes, or if you wear contact lenses.
Gilotrif may harm an unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine and for at least 2 weeks after your last dose. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant.
Do not not breast-feed while using this medicine and for 2 weeks after your last dose.
How should I take Gilotrif?
Take Gilotrif tablets exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Before you start treatment, your doctor may perform tests to make sure this medicine is the best treatment for your type of lung cancer.
Gilotrif is usually taken once per day. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Take Gilotrif on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal.
Gilotrif can cause severe diarrhea, which can be life-threatening if it leads to dehydration. You may be given medications to prevent or quickly treat diarrhea.
Your doctor may recommend you have an anti-diarrhea medicine such as loperamide (Imodium) available at all times while you are taking Gilotrif. Take the anti-diarrhea medicine as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor.
Call your doctor if you are sick with severe diarrhea, or diarrhea lasting longer than 2 days. You may need to stop taking this medicine for a short time.
While using Gilotrif, you may need frequent blood tests.
Store the tablets in their original container at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
Throw away any tablets not used before the expiration date on the medicine label.
Gilotrif dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer:
40 mg orally once a day
Duration of therapy: Until disease progression or no longer tolerated by patient.
Comments: Administer at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if your next dose is less than 12 hours away. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking Gilotrif?
Afatinib could make you sunburn more easily. Avoid sunlight or tanning beds. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.
This medicine can pass into body fluids (urine, feces, vomit). Caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up a patient's body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.
Gilotrif side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Gilotrif: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using Gilotrif and call your doctor at once if you have:
new or worsening cough, fever, or trouble breathing;
severe or ongoing diarrhea (lasting 2 days or longer);
severe skin reaction that causes blistering and peeling;
pain, redness, numbness, and peeling skin on your hands or feet;
blisters or ulcers in your mouth, red or swollen gums, trouble swallowing;
eye problems - eye pain or redness, blurred vision, watery eyes, feeling like something is in your eye, increased sensitivity to light;
liver problems - stomach pain (upper right side), easy bruising or bleeding, feeling tired, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
heart problems - pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest, shortness of breath (even with mild exertion), swelling in your legs or ankles, rapid weight gain.
Common Gilotrif side effects may include:
mild diarrhea for 1 day or less;
nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite;
acne, itching, dry skin; or
redness, pain, swelling, or other signs of infection around your fingernails or toenails.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect Gilotrif?
Sometimes it is not safe to use certain medications at the same time. Some drugs can affect your blood levels of other drugs you take, which may increase side effects or make the medications less effective.
Other drugs may interact with afatinib, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Gilotrif only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Editorial References and Review
Medically reviewed by USARx EDITORIAL TEAM Last updated on 1/1/2020.
Source: Drugs.com Gilotrif (www.drugs.com/gilotrif.html).