Tykerb is a prescription drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2007 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 women who have already received treatment with Anthracycline, a taxane drug, and Trastuzumab Tykerb is also known by its drug name, Lapatinib.
Tykerb is not suitable for use in pregnant women. Tykerb should be used with caution in women with a history of heart disease, liver or lung problems. It is not known whether Tykerb affects fertility.
In about 25 percent of breast cancers, there is a genetic variation that causes tumor cells 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, at least one hour before or one hour after a meal. Take Tykerb around the same time each day. Take each dose all at one time; do not divide it. Do not split or crush the tablets; take them whole. Capecitabine should be taken orally once a day, with food or within 30 minutes of eating, 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.
Lapatinib (Tykerb) was approved on the basis of a clinical trial involving approximately 400 women with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. Half of the women received Lapatinib with Capecitabine, while the other half received Capecitabine alone. The women who received Lapatinib showed a significant increase in the time until tumor progression. In addition, those treated with Lapatinib showed a rate of 24 percent tumor response, while those who received only Capecitabine showed a 14 percent rate of tumor response.
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.
Common side effects of Tykerb include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rashes, and hand-foot syndrome, which may include swelling, redness and sensations of tingling or numbness in the hands and feet. Since diarrhea caused by Tykerb can be severe, report any loose stools to your doctor immediately. They want to treat with antidiarrheal medicine right away.
Many drugs can cause allergic reactions which, in the most serious cases, can result in death. Seek immediate medical help if you experience signs of a severe allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing or swelling in the face, throat, eyes, lips or tongue.