Tykerb is a prescription drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat metastatic breast cancer in combination with capecitabine in cases where tumors overexpress the HER2 protein. The combined regimen of Tykerb and capecitabine is recommended for use in people who have already received treatment with anthracycline, a taxane drug, and trastuzumab. Tykerb is also known by its drug name, lapatinib.
In about 25 percent of breast cancers, there is a genetic variation that causes tumor cells to produce extra receptors for a growth factor. This gene, known as human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), causes the cancer to grow more aggressively. Tykerb is a member of a class of drugs called kinase inhibitors, and it is designed to inhibit the growth of cancer cells with the HER2 gene. Tykerb is believed to work by interfering with the growth of HER2-positive cancer cells, thereby slowing the growth of tumors.
How do I take it?
Tykerb is taken orally once a day for 21 days. Capecitabine should be taken orally once a day on days one through 14 of the 21-day period.
Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while taking Tykerb, since it may cause dangerous interactions.
Your doctor may perform tests to assess your heart function before prescribing Tykerb. These tests may include an echocardiogram and a multigated acquisition (MUGA) scan. Your doctor may also monitor your heart regularly during and after treatment with Tykerb.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Tykerb.
Common side effects of Tykerb include diarrhea, swelling and redness in the hands and feet, nausea, rash, vomiting, and fatigue. Since diarrhea caused by Tykerb can be severe, report any loose stools to your doctor right away.
One rare but serious side effect caused by Tykerb is decreased heart function that may lead to shortness of breath. This side effect is usually reversible. Tykerb can also cause liver and lung problems. Call your doctor immediately if you experience shortness of breath or signs of liver damage including yellowing of the eyes or skin (jaundice), dark urine, pale or dark colored stools, pain or swelling in your upper right abdomen, or unusual bruising or bleeding.
For more information about this treatment, visit:
Tykerb — Novartis