Posted on December 4th, 2008 by
Class: Biologic therapy
Generic Name: Lapatinib (luh-PA-ti-nib)
Trade Name: Tykerb®
For what conditions is this drug used? Lapatinib is FDA approved for the treatment of patients with advanced breast cancer that is human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)- positive and has progressed following therapy with chemotherapy agents known as taxanes and anthracyclines and the targeted therapy agent Herceptin® (trastuzumab). Lapatinib is to be used in combination with the chemotherapy agent Xeloda® (capecitabine). If your doctor has prescribed this drug for a different condition, keep in mind that doctors have the ability to prescribe medication for conditions other than those for which the drug has been approved by the FDA; you should discuss this issue with your doctor.
What is the mechanism of action? Lapatinib is classified as a targeted agent. The epidermal growth factor receptor and HER2 are both involved in regulating growth and replication of a cell. In many cancer cells, these pathways are abnormal and provide continual growth stimulation of a cell. Lapatinib blocks part of the epidermal growth factor receptor pathway and HER2 so that the cellular growth signals are inhibited.
How is lapatinib given (administered)? Lapatinib is given in the form of a pill and is taken orally. It should be taken one hour prior to a meal or one hour following a meal.
How are patients monitored? Patients will usually have scheduled meetings with their healthcare provider while being treated with lapatinib. Physical examinations, scans, or other measures may be performed to assess side effects and response to therapy. Blood may be drawn to monitor functions of some organs, such as the liver. In addition, patients will have their heart monitored, as rare but serious side effects affecting the heart may occur.
What are the common (occur in 30% or more of patients) side effects of treatment with lapatinib?
What are the less common (occur in 10% to 29% of patients) side effects of treatment with lapatinib?
What can patients do to help alleviate or prevent discomfort and side effects?
Are there any special precautions patients should be aware of before starting treatment?
When should patients notify their physician?
What is a package insert?
A package insert is required by the FDA and contains a summary of the essential scientific information needed for the safe and effective use of the drug for healthcare providers and consumers. A package insert typically includes information regarding specific indications, administration schedules, dosing, side effects, contraindications, results from some clinical trials, chemical structure, pharmacokinetics, and metabolism of the specific drug. By carefully reviewing the package insert, you will get the most complete and current information about how to safely use this drug. If you do not have the package insert for the drug you are using, your pharmacist or physician may be able to provide you with a copy.
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