Lung Cancer Home > Iressa Warnings and Precautions

If you have liver disease or kidney disease, tell your healthcare provider before undergoing treatment with Iressa. Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. This chemotherapy drug may not be suitable for everyone, so it's important to fully understand the drug's precautions and warnings. Iressa should be avoided if you are allergic to any of the medicine's ingredients.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Iressa® (gefitinib) if you have:
 
  • Liver disease, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or liver failure
  • Kidney disease, such as kidney failure (renal failure)
  • Lung disease
  • Been previously treated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
    
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
 
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
 
You should also tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
 

Specific Precautions and Warnings With Iressa

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking this medication include the following:
 
  • In rare cases, Iressa has been reported to cause lung disease that is severe enough to require hospitalization and, in some cases, has caused death. People who have received previous radiation therapy or chemotherapy may have a higher risk for lung disease from Iressa. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you develop sudden shortness of breath, cough, or fever during Iressa treatment.
 
  • Iressa may increase liver enzymes, which could be a sign of liver problems. Your healthcare provider will monitor your liver function using blood tests periodically during treatment.
 
  • Because Iressa is removed from the body primarily by the liver, people with liver disease may have higher Iressa blood levels.
   
  • Iressa is a pregnancy Category D medication, which means it may harm an unborn child. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using this medication during pregnancy (see Iressa and Pregnancy).
 
  • It is unknown whether Iressa passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Iressa and Breastfeeding).
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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