What is Iressa (Gefitinib)?

Iressa (Gefitinib) is an oral medication used to treat a type of lung cancer called non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

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Does Iressa have a generic available?

Yes. On May 3, 2023 drug manufacturer Ingenus released the generic for Iressa called Gefitinib.

What is Iressa (Gefitinib)?

Iressa is a medication used to treat a type of lung cancer called non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). It works by blocking a protein called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) that is involved in promoting the growth of cancer cells.

What is the difference between Iressa and Gefitinib?

Gefitinib is what is known as the “generic” name for Iressa. Most drugs have a “brand name” version and a generic.

The generic formulation of any medication is usually very identical in core (active ingredients) formula to the brand formulation with the main difference between them being their price.

The generic version of any medication will always be much more cost-effective than brand. Typically, a pharmacy will fill prescriptions using generic unless otherwise noted by the prescribing doctor.

How does Iressa (Gefitinib) work?

By inhibiting EGFR, Iressa helps to slow down or stop the growth of cancer cells in the lungs. It is specifically used in NSCLC patients who have certain mutations in the EGFR gene. Iressa is taken orally in the form of tablets and is prescribed and monitored by healthcare professionals experienced in cancer treatment.

What are Iressa (Gefitinib) side effects?

While Iressa (Gefitinib) is generally well-tolerated by patients, like any medication, it can potentially cause side effects. It’s important to note that not all individuals will experience these side effects, and their severity can vary from person to person. If you are prescribed Iressa, your healthcare provider will closely monitor you for any adverse reactions. Here are some commonly reported side effects associated with Iressa:

  1. Skin-related side effects: Skin rash is one of the most frequently observed side effects of Iressa. It can range from mild to severe and may be accompanied by itching or dryness. Other skin-related issues may include acne, nail changes, hair thinning, or changes in skin color.
  2. Gastrointestinal disturbances: Iressa can cause gastrointestinal side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or abdominal discomfort. It’s important to stay hydrated and inform your healthcare provider if these symptoms become severe or persistent.
  3. Fatigue and weakness: Some patients may experience fatigue, weakness, or a general feeling of tiredness while taking Iressa. It is advisable to prioritize rest and conserve energy during this time.
  4. Respiratory problems: Although rare, Iressa has been associated with interstitial lung disease (ILD), which can cause symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. If you experience any respiratory symptoms, notify your healthcare provider immediately.
  5. Hepatotoxicity: In rare cases, Iressa has been linked to liver problems. Signs of liver dysfunction include yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice), dark urine, abdominal pain, or elevated liver enzymes. If you notice any of these symptoms, seek medical attention promptly.
  6. Eye-related side effects: Some patients may experience dry eyes, blurred vision, or eye irritation while taking Iressa. If these symptoms occur, consult your doctor for appropriate management strategies.

It is crucial to communicate with your healthcare provider about any side effects you may experience while taking Iressa. They can provide guidance on managing these symptoms and may adjust your treatment plan if necessary. It’s also essential to mention any other medications or supplements you are taking to ensure there are no potential interactions.

Remember, this list of side effects is not exhaustive, and individual experiences may vary. Your healthcare provider is the best resource to address any concerns and provide personalized advice based on your medical history and current condition.

You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What if I can't afford Iressa or Gefitinib?

If you are having trouble affording your medication please let us know as soon as possible. We offer the lowest prescription prices and a robust Iressa (Gefitinib) copay assistance program. This is a completely free program designed to help qualifying individuals save as much money on their prescription copays as possible. While each person’s qualifications differ, we have seen copay assistance eliminate copays on certain medications for some. It is worth your time to fill out the form on this page or visit our Iressa (Gefitinib) copay assistance page for more information.

You may also feel free to call us at (917) 830-2525 and we will gladly help you right away.  

How should I take Iressa (Gefitinib)?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

When taking Iressa (Gefitinib), it is important to follow the specific instructions provided by your healthcare provider. Here are some general guidelines for taking Iressa:

  1. Dosage: Take Iressa exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. The recommended dosage and duration of treatment will depend on your specific condition and individual factors. Do not alter the dosage or stop taking the medication without consulting your healthcare provider.
  2. Timing: Iressa is usually taken once daily. It is important to establish a consistent schedule for taking the medication, such as taking it at the same time each day, to help maintain steady levels in your body.
  3. Oral Administration: Iressa is available in the form of oral tablets. Take the tablet with a glass of water, either with or without food, as directed by your healthcare provider. Swallow the tablet whole; do not crush, chew, or break it unless advised otherwise.
  4. Grapefruit Avoidance: As mentioned earlier, avoid consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice while taking Iressa, as it can interact with the medication and affect its effectiveness.
  5. Compliance: It is important to be consistent and adhere to your prescribed treatment plan. Try not to miss any doses of Iressa.
  6. Storage: Store Iressa tablets at room temperature, away from excessive heat, moisture, and light. Follow the specific storage instructions provided with the medication.
  7. Additional Instructions: Your healthcare provider may provide additional instructions or precautions based on your individual circumstances. Follow their advice closely and discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

It is crucial to maintain open communication with your healthcare provider throughout your treatment with Iressa. They will monitor your progress, adjust the dosage if needed, and address any questions or concerns you may have. Regular follow-up appointments will help ensure the effectiveness and safety of your treatment.

What happens if I miss a dose of Iressa (Gefitinib)?

If you accidentally miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is close to the time for your next scheduled dose. In that case, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosing schedule. Talk to your healthcare provider if you’ve missed more than one dose or have any questions about a missed dose.

Before taking Iressa or Gefitinib

It is important to be mindful of certain factors and avoid certain things to ensure your safety and the effectiveness of the medication. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Grapefruit and Grapefruit Juice: Avoid consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice while taking Iressa. Grapefruit can interact with the medication and affect its metabolism, potentially leading to increased levels of Iressa in the body and a higher risk of side effects.
  2. Medication Interactions: Inform your healthcare provider about all the medications, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and supplements, that you are currently taking. Certain medications can interact with Iressa and either decrease its effectiveness or increase the risk of side effects. Your healthcare provider will provide guidance on any specific medication interactions to be mindful of.
  3. Smoking and Tobacco: Smoking can affect the metabolism of Iressa and reduce its effectiveness. It is advisable to avoid smoking or using tobacco products while taking Iressa.
  4. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, it is important to discuss this with your healthcare provider. Iressa may harm an unborn baby, so appropriate precautions and guidance will be provided to ensure the safety of both you and your baby.
  5. Alcohol Consumption: While there is no specific restriction on alcohol consumption while taking Iressa, it is generally recommended to moderate or avoid alcohol as it may contribute to overall health concerns and potential interactions with other medications you may be taking.
  6. Driving and Operating Machinery: Some patients may experience side effects from Iressa, such as dizziness or fatigue, which can affect their ability to drive or operate machinery safely. If you experience any such side effects, it is important to avoid activities that require alertness until you are confident in your ability to perform them safely.

Always follow the guidance provided by your healthcare provider regarding any specific precautions or restrictions while taking Iressa. They will be best positioned to offer personalized advice based on your individual circumstances and medical history.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

How is Iressa (Gefitinib) administered?

This is an oral medication (pill or capsule) taken by mouth with water. Talk to your doctor or one of our amazing pharmacists if you have questions about when or how to take this medication.

What is the difference between Tarceva (Erlotinib) and Iressa (Gefitinib)?

Gefitinib is only advised for patients with an EGFR mutation, regardless of the line of treatment they are receiving. However, erlotinib is also suggested for patients who do not have an EGFR mutation but are receiving second- or third-line therapy.