What is Tagrisso?
Tagrisso is an oral medication prescribed to treat lung cancer. Tagrisso contains the active ingredient Osimertinib, which belongs to a class of drugs called kinase inhibitors. It slows the proliferation and growth of cancer cells by binding to epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) in tumors.
Tagrisso is to be taken orally, with or without food, usually once daily. Follow the instructions of your doctor carefully. The prescribed dosage is dependent on the severity of your condition and your response to treatment. If you struggle to swallow the whole tablet, place it into 60ml of still water and stir until it breaks into small pieces. Do not crush the tablet or heat the solution, and make sure you drink all the solution straight away. Do not prepare the solution ahead of time. Pour an extra 120ml into the glass and drink it to ensure you have consumed all the medication. If this medication is to be given via a nasogastric tube, ask your doctor for instructions on how to properly administer it.
Store Tagrisso in a place that will not exceed 25°C, away from direct sunlight and moisture. Keep out of reach of children and pets. Do not consume expired medication. Dispose of expired or surplus medication responsibly, following the instructions of your healthcare professional. Do not flush medication down the toilet or sink. Do not share this medication with anyone else, even if they have the same condition as you.
Common Side Effects
All medication comes with a risk of side effects. It is important to recognize that your doctor has determined your risk of side effects is outweighed by the potential benefit this medication can provide. Side effects will differ between individuals and it is possible you will not experience any side effects at all. Tagrisso is commonly associated with:
- Sores in the mouth
- Dry/itchy skin
- Back pain
- Appetite loss
If you experience the above side effects and they concern you, or they worsen or do not resolve on their own, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
Severe Side Effects
Occasionally, Tagrisso can be associated with severe side effects that should be taken seriously. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Abnormalities in your nails (tenderness, irritation, redness)
- Changes in your vision
- Redness or pain in the eye
- Sensitivity to light
- Abnormal eye discharge
- Extreme drowsiness
- Mood swings
If you experience very serious side effects, seek emergency medical assistance immediately. These include very slow or very fast heartbeat, severe dizziness, loss of consciousness, shallow breathing, difficulty breathing, swelling of the ankles or feet, unusual fatigue, unusual weight gain, severe chest pain, unusual cough, fever, pain/swelling/warmth in the groin or calf.
Tagrisso can affect your immune response, resulting in an increased likelihood of getting or worsening infections. Contact your doctor if you experience any symptoms of infections, such as a persistent sore throat, fever, or chills.
An allergic reaction to this medication is rare, but not impossible. Seek medical assistance immediately if you experience allergic reaction symptoms such as rash, facial swelling, itching, dizziness, or difficulty breathing.
This is not an exhaustive list of side effects. If you experience any abnormal symptoms that concern you, contact your doctor right away.
Warnings & Precautions
Before starting Tagrisso, inform your doctor of all allergies you have, especially if you are allergic to the ingredients of this medication. Ensure your doctor is aware of your entire family and personal medical history, especially heart failure, slow heartbeat, QT prolongation, or sudden cardiac death.
The active ingredient Osimertinib can cause QT prolongation, a condition that affects the heart rhythm. QT prolongation can cause serious complications (sometimes fatal), such as fast or irregular heartbeat, dizziness, and fainting. Contact medical help immediately. QT prolongation is more likely to develop when Tagrisso is taken alongside other medications that cause it or if you have other medical conditions. Make sure you tell your doctor all the medications you take on a regular basis, including prescription and non-prescription, and if you have a history of heart problems. Further, QT prolongation is more likely if you have low blood levels of potassium or magnesium, and if you take diuretics, or suffer from severe sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting.
Tagrisso can sometimes be associated with blurred vision. It is recommended that you do not operate heavy machinery (including driving) or participate in activities that require clear eyesight until you know how this medication affects you. Alcohol and marijuana worsen blurred vision and instability, so limit alcoholic beverages and cannabis use.
Tagrisso can increase your susceptibility to infection or worsen current infections, as it affects your immunity. Avoid close contact with people who have contagious infections (chickenpox, measles, influenza, common cold) and exercise good hand hygiene to protect yourself. Contact your doctor right away if you think you have been exposed to a contagious infection.
Tell your healthcare provider that you are taking Tagrisso before receiving any vaccinations, and take care to avoid people who have recently had a live vaccine.
As this medication can cause easy bruising or bleeding, take care when handling sharp objects and avoid contact sports.
All medical professionals involved in your care should be aware of all the medications you take on a regular basis. Ensure you inform your doctor that you are taking Tagrisso, along with the list of your other medications.
Older adults may be more susceptible to side effects such as QT prolongation.
It is not recommended for pregnant people to take Tagrisso due to the risk it poses to the developing fetus. If you are pregnant, intend to become pregnant, think you could be pregnant, or do become pregnant, do not take this medication. Talk to your doctor right away if you become pregnant while already taking Tagrisso. Discuss reliable forms of birth control before starting Tagrisso and continue using it for six weeks after your final dose. Males taking Tagrisso should continue to use reliable birth control for four months after their final dose.
It is not known whether this drunk can pass into breast milk. If it does, this may pose a serious risk to the nursing infant. It is not recommended to breast feed while taking Tagrisso and for two weeks after the final dose. Ask your doctor for more information.
Interactions & Contraindications
Two or more drugs taken concurrently can interact with one another, changing how one or more function in the body or leading to negative side effects. Keep a comprehensive list of all the medications you take on a regular basis, including prescription, non-prescription, herbal, and vitamin products, and share this with your doctor. Do not stop, start, or change the dosage of any medication without first contacting your doctor.
Tagrisso can have a major interaction with mirtazapine, leading to an increased risk of developing an irregular heart rhythm. Tagrisso can also have moderate interactions with dexamethasone and melatonin. Take care if you intend to use these products, and always check with your doctor before changing your medication schedule.