Afatinib is a targeted drug that is used to treat non-small cell lung cancer. This type of lung cancer is caused by an abnormal epidermal growth factor receptor gene.
This gene produces a protein that is found on the surface of lung cells and helps them grow. But when these genes become abnormal due to any reason the cells grow rapidly and get out of control leading to cancer.
Afatinib is a kinase inhibitor type of drug which inhibits this growth protein and helps to stop cancer cells.
It is commonly used to treat people with non-small cell lung cancer and squamous cell lung cancer It helps to stop the spread of cancer cells in the surrounding area of the affected region or other parts of the body.
What should you tell your doctor before taking afatinib?
Before taking afatinib as a targeted drug for cancer treatment, inform your doctor if you suffer from any of these diseases:
- Heart problems
- Liver or kidney problems
- Lung problems such as breathing issues apart from lung cancer
- Stomach or intestine problems such as ulcer or perforation or inflammation etc.
- Eyes problems such as dry eyes or if you use contact lenses
How is it given?
Afatinib comes in the form of a tablet. It is given via the oral route of administration that is mouth. It is taken once per day. It is prescribed to take the medicine on an empty stomach. It can be taken 1 hour before taking a meal or 2 hours after taking a meal. It is advised to take the drug at the same time every day.
Do not change or stop the dose unless your doctor prescribes it. The doctor will prescribe you the dose and the time when it should be taken.
What are the common side effects of afatinib?
There are some side effects of afatinib that are commonly observed in patients that take afatinib. These side effects can be controlled or managed by taking some medication. If you experience these symptoms, consult your doctor.
These side effects usually go away as soon as the medication intake is discontinued. Some of the commonly observed side effects of afatinib are:
- Rash on skin
- Acne or blisters on the skin
- Mouth sores
- Nail inflammation
- Dry skin
- Decreased appetite
- Bleeding and bruising
- Teary eyes
- Dark urine
- Sensitivity to light
- Sudden weight gain
If you experience any other symptoms or these symptoms get worse, immediately contact your doctor.
What are the precautions that you must take?
While taking afatinib, there are some things that a patient must keep in mind to avoid any serious complications. Some of the major precautions are as follow:
- Before taking afatinib, discuss with your doctor if you suffer from any other disorder or if you are allergic to any substance. If you are taking medications for any other diseases, it is advised to talk about it with your doctor before taking afatinib.
- While taking afatinib, it is advised to not get pregnant or breastfeed as it can affect the child.
- It is also advised to avoid prolonged sun exposure as afatinib can make the patient more sensitive to light. It can make the patient prone to rashes and acne. Hence it is advised to wear sunscreen or cover yourself completely before stepping foot in sunlight.
- Avoid taking any medication without consulting your doctor. Avoid taking herbal supplements, vitamins, and over-the-counter medicines, as they can interact with afatinib and inhibit the functioning of afatinib or cause some serious complications. Always consult your doctor before taking any medication or supplement.
- In case of overdose, immediately rush to a hospital or contact a doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember but if it’s time for the next dose, then forget the missed dose and continue your normal dose. DO NOT OVERDOSE.