Lung Cancer Home > Iressa Side Effects

It is common for people taking Iressa to develop problems like diarrhea, dry skin, or nausea. In fact, most people who are taking this chemotherapy drug will develop some type of side effect. Clinical studies have also shown that potentially serious side effects are also possible with Iressa and include things like breathing problems, unusual bleeding, and persistent vomiting.

An Introduction to Iressa Side Effects

As with any chemotherapy medicine, Iressa® (gefitinib) can cause side effects. In fact, most people will experience some type of reaction to this drug, and some problems can be quite significant. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways to prevent or lessen reactions to this medicine.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with Iressa. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)

Common Side Effects of Iressa

Iressa has been studied extensively in clinical trials. In these studies, the side effects that occurred in a group of people taking Iressa were carefully documented. As a result, it was possible to see what side effects occurred and how often they appeared.
In these studies, the most common Iressa side effects included:
  • Diarrhea -- in up to 67 percent of people
  • Rash -- up to 54 percent
  • Acne -- up to 33 percent
  • Dry skin -- up to 26 percent
  • Nausea -- up to 18 percent
  • Loss of appetite -- up to 10 percent
  • Vomiting -- up to 9 percent
  • Itching -- up to 9 percent
  • Loss of strength and energy -- up to 9 percent
  • Weight loss -- up to 5 percent.
Other common side effects, occurring in 1 percent to 2 percent of people, included:
  • Swelling of the arms, hands, legs, ankles, or feet
  • An eye that turns inward or outward ("lazy eye")
  • Shortness of breath
  • Red and inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Blisters on the skin
  • Sores or ulcers in the mouth.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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