Erlotinib: Package Insert and Label Information (Page 3 of 5)

6.2 Post-Marketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during post approval use of erlotinib tablets. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Musculoskeletal and Connective Tissue Disorders: myopathy, including rhabdomyolysis, in combination with statin therapy

Eye Disorders: ocular inflammation including uveitis


CYP3A4 Inhibitors

Co-administration of erlotinib tablets with a strong CYP3A4 inhibitor or a combined CYP3A4 and CYP1A2 inhibitor increased erlotinib exposure. Erlotinib is metabolized primarily by CYP3A4 and to a lesser extent by CYP1A2. Increased erlotinib exposure may increase the risk of exposure-related toxicity [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

Avoid co-administering erlotinib tablets with strong CYP3A4 inhibitors (e.g., boceprevir, clarithromycin, conivaptan, indinavir, itraconazole, ketoconazole, lopinavir/ritonavir, nefazodone, nelfinavir, posaconazole, ritonavir, saquinavir, telithromycin, voriconazole, grapefruit or grapefruit juice) or a combined CYP3A4 and CYP1A2 inhibitor (e.g., ciprofloxacin). Reduce the erlotinib tablets dosage when co-administering with a strong CYP3A4 inhibitor or a combined CYP3A4 and CYP1A2 inhibitor if co-administration is unavoidable [see Dosage and Administration (2.4)].

CYP3A4 Inducers

Pre-treatment with a CYP3A4 inducer prior to erlotinib tablets decreased erlotinib exposure [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]. Increase the erlotinib tablets dosage if co-administration with CYP3A4 inducers (e.g., carbamazepine, phenytoin, rifampin, rifabutin, rifapentine, phenobarbital and St. John’s wort) is unavoidable [see Dosage and Administration (2.4)].

CYP1A2 Inducers and Cigarette Smoking

Cigarette smoking decreased erlotinib exposure. Avoid smoking tobacco (CYP1A2 inducer) and avoid concomitant use of erlotinib tablets with moderate CYP1A2 inducers (e.g., teriflunomide, rifampin, or phenytoin). Increase the erlotinib tablets dosage in patients that smoke tobacco or when co-administration with moderate CYP1A2 inducers is unavoidable [see Dosage and Administration (2.4) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

Drugs the Increase Gastric pH

Co-administration of erlotinib tablets with proton pump inhibitors (e.g., omeprazole) and H-2 receptor antagonists (e.g., ranitidine) decreased erlotinib exposure [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]. For proton pump inhibitors, avoid concomitant use if possible. For H-2 receptor antagonists and antacids, modify the dosing schedule [see Dosage and Administration (2.4)]. Increasing the dose of erlotinib tablets when co-administered with gastric PH elevating agents is not likely to compensate for the loss of exposure.


Interaction with coumarin-derived anticoagulants, including warfarin, leading to increased International Normalized Ratio (INR) and bleeding adverse reactions, which in some cases were fatal, have been reported in patients receiving erlotinib tablets. Regularly monitor prothrombin time or INR in patients taking coumarin-derived anticoagulants. Dose modifications of erlotinib tablets are not recommended [see Warnings and Precautions (5.9) and Adverse Reactions (6.1)].


8.1 Pregnancy

Risk Summary

Based on animal data and its mechanism of action, erlotinib tablets can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Limited available data on use of erlotinib tablets in pregnant women are not sufficient to inform a risk of major birth defects or miscarriage. When given during organogenesis, erlotinib administration resulted in embryo-fetal lethality and abortion in rabbits at exposures approximately 3 times the exposure at the recommended human daily dose of 150 mg. Advise pregnant women of the potential risk to a fetus.

In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2-4% and 15-20%, respectively.


Animal Data

Erlotinib has been shown to cause maternal toxicity resulting in embryo-fetal lethality and abortion in rabbits when given during the period of organogenesis at doses that result in plasma drug concentrations approximately 3 times those achieved at the recommended dose in humans (AUCs at 150 mg daily dose). During the same period, there was no increase in the incidence of embryo-fetal lethality or abortion in rabbits or rats at doses resulting in exposures approximately equal to those in humans at the recommended daily dose. In an independent fertility study female rats treated with 30 mg/m2 /day or 60 mg/m2 /day (0.3 or 0.7 times the recommended daily dose, on a mg/m2 basis) of erlotinib had an increase in early resorptions that resulted in a decrease in the number of live fetuses.

No teratogenic effects were observed in rabbits or rats dosed with erlotinib during organogenesis at doses up to 600 mg/m2 /day in the rabbit (3 times the plasma drug concentration seen in humans at 150 mg/day) and up to 60 mg/m2 /day in the rat (0.7 times the recommended dose of 150 mg/day on a mg/m2 basis).

8.2 Lactation

Risk Summary

There are no data on the presence of erlotinib in human milk, or the effects of erlotinib on the breastfed infant or on milk production. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in breastfed infants from erlotinib tablets, including interstitial lung disease, hepatotoxicity, bullous and exfoliative skin disorders, microangiopathic hemolytic anemia with thrombocytopenia, ocular disorders, and diarrhea. Advise a lactating woman not to breastfeed during treatment with erlotinib tablets and for 2 weeks after the final dose.

8.3 Females and Males of Reproductive Potential



Erlotinib tablets can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman [see Use in Specific Populations (8.1)]. Advise females of reproductive potential to use effective contraception during treatment with erlotinib tablets and for one month after the last dose of erlotinib tablets.

8.4 Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of erlotinib tablets in pediatric patients have not been established.

In an open-label, multicenter trial, 25 pediatric patients (median age 14 years, range 3-20 years) with recurrent or refractory ependymoma were randomized (1:1) to erlotinib tablets or etoposide. Thirteen patients received erlotinib tablets at a dose of 85 mg/m2 /day orally until disease progression, death, patient request, investigator decision to discontinue study drug, or intolerable toxicity. Four patients randomized to etoposide also received erlotinib tablets following disease progression. The trial was terminated prematurely for lack of efficacy; there were no objective responses observed in these 17 erlotinib tablets -treated patients.

No new adverse events were identified in the pediatric population.

Based on the population pharmacokinetics analysis conducted in 105 pediatric patients (2 to 21 years old) with cancer, the geometric mean estimates of CL/F/BSA (apparent clearance normalized to body surface area) were comparable across the three age groups: 2-6 years (n = 29), 7-16 years (n = 59), and 17-21 years (n = 17).

8.5 Geriatric Use

Of the 1297 subjects in clinical studies of erlotinib tablets for the treatment of NSCLC and pancreatic cancer 40% were 65 and older while 10% were 75 and older. No overall differences in safety or efficacy were observed between subjects 65 years and older and those younger than 65.

8.6 Hepatic Impairment

Hepatic failure and hepatorenal syndrome, including fatal cases, can occur with erlotinib tablets treatment in patients with normal hepatic function; the risk of hepatic toxicity is increased in patients with baseline hepatic impairment [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3), Adverse Reactions (6.1, 6.2), and Dosage and Administration]. Monitor patients with hepatic impairment (total bilirubin greater than upper limit of normal (ULN) or Child-Pugh A, B and C) during therapy with erlotinib tablets. Treatment with erlotinib tablets should be used with increased monitoring in patients with total bilirubin greater than 3 × ULN [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3), Adverse Reactions (6.1, 6.2), and Dosage and Administration (2.4)].


Withhold erlotinib tablets in patients with an overdose or suspected overdose and institute symptomatic treatment.


Erlotinib, a kinase inhibitor, is a quinazolinamine with the chemical name N-(3-ethynylphenyl)-6,7-bis(2-methoxyethoxy)-4-quinazolinamine. Erlotinib tablets contains erlotinib as the hydrochloride salt that has the following structural formula:

Chemical Structure
(click image for full-size original)

Erlotinib hydrochloride has the molecular formula C22 H23 N3 O4 ∙HCl and a molecular weight of 429.90. The molecule has a pKa of 5.42 at 25°C. Erlotinib hydrochloride is very slightly soluble in water, slightly soluble in methanol and practically insoluble in acetonitrile, acetone, ethyl acetate and hexane.

Aqueous solubility of erlotinib hydrochloride is dependent on pH with increased solubility at a pH of less than 5 due to protonation of the secondary amine. Over the pH range of 1.4 to 9.6, maximal solubility of approximately 0.4 mg/mL occurs at a pH of approximately 2.

Erlotinib tablets for oral administration are available in three dosage strengths containing erlotinib hydrochloride (27.3 mg, 109.3 mg and 163.9 mg) equivalent to 25 mg, 100 mg and 150 mg erlotinib and the following inactive ingredients: hypromellose, lactose monohydrate, microcrystalline cellulose, PEG, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium starch glycolate, sodium stearyl fumarate and titanium dioxide.


12.1 Mechanism of Action

Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is expressed on the cell surface of both normal and cancer cells. In some tumor cells signaling through this receptor plays a role in tumor cell survival and proliferation irrespective of EGFR mutation status. Erlotinib reversibly inhibits the kinase activity of EGFR, preventing autophosphorylation of tyrosine residues associated with the receptor and thereby inhibiting further downstream signaling. Erlotinib binding affinity for EGFR exon 19 deletion or exon 21 (L858R) mutations is higher than its affinity for the wild type receptor. Erlotinib inhibition of other tyrosine kinase receptors has not been fully characterized.

12.3 Pharmacokinetics


Erlotinib is about 60% absorbed after oral administration. Peak plasma levels occur 4 hours after dosing.

Effect of Food

Food increased the bioavailability of erlotinib to approximately 100%.


Erlotinib is 93% protein bound to plasma albumin and alpha-1 acid glycoprotein (AAG).

Erlotinib has an apparent volume of distribution of 232 liters.


Erlotinib is eliminated with a median half-life of 36.2 hours in patients receiving the single-agent erlotinib tablets 2nd /3rd line regimen. Time to reach steady state plasma concentration would therefore be 7-8 days.


Erlotinib is metabolized primarily by CYP3A4 and to a lesser extent by CYP1A2, and the extrahepatic isoform CYP1A1, in vitro.


Following a 100 mg oral dose, 91% of the dose was recovered: 83% in feces (1% of the dose as intact parent) and 8% in urine (0.3% of the dose as intact parent).

Specific Populations

Neither age, body weight, nor gender had a clinically significant effect on the systemic exposure of erlotinib in NSCLC patients receiving single-agent erlotinib tablets for 2nd /3rd line treatment or for maintenance treatment, and in pancreatic cancer patients who received erlotinib plus gemcitabine. The pharmacokinetics of erlotinib tablets in patients with compromised renal function is unknown.

Patients with Hepatic Impairment

In vitro and in vivo evidence suggest that erlotinib is cleared primarily by the liver. However, erlotinib exposure was similar in patients with moderately impaired hepatic function (Child-Pugh B) compared with patients with adequate hepatic function including patients with primary liver cancer or hepatic metastases.

Patients That Smoke Tobacco Cigarettes

In a single-dose pharmacokinetics trial in healthy volunteers, cigarette smoking (moderate CYP1A2 inducer) increased erlotinib clearance and decreased erlotinib AUC0-inf by 64% (95% CI, 46-76%) in current smokers compared with former/never smokers. In a NSCLC trial, current smokers achieved erlotinib steady-state trough plasma concentrations which were approximately 2-fold less than the former smokers or patients who had never smoked. This effect was accompanied by a 24% increase in apparent erlotinib plasma clearance. In another study which was conducted in NSCLC patients who were current smokers, pharmacokinetic analyses at steady-state indicated a dose-proportional increase in erlotinib exposure when the erlotinib tablets dose was increased from 150 mg to 300 mg. [see Dosage and Administration (2.4), Drug Interactions (7) and Patient Counseling Information (17)].

Drug Interaction Studies

Co-administration of gemcitabine had no effect on erlotinib plasma clearance.

CYP3A4 Inhibitors

Co-administration with a strong CYP3A4 inhibitor, ketoconazole, increased erlotinib AUC by 67%. Co-administration with a combined CYP3A4 and CYP1A2 inhibitor, ciprofloxacin, increased erlotinib exposure [AUC] by 39%, and increased erlotinib maximum concentration [Cmax ] by 17%. [see Dose Modifications (2.4), Drug Interactions (7)].

CYP3A4 Inducers

Pre-treatment with the CYP3A4 inducer rifampicin, for 7-11 days prior to erlotinib tablets, decreased erlotinib AUC by 58% to 80% [see Dose Modifications (2.4), Drug Interactions (7)].

CYP1A2 Inducers or Smoking Tobacco

See Specific Populations Section [see Dose Modifications (2.4), Drug Interactions (7)].

Drugs that Increase Gastric pH

Erlotinib solubility is pH dependent and decreases as pH increases. When a proton pump inhibitor (omeprazole) was co-administered with erlotinib tablets the erlotinib exposure [AUC] was decreased by 46% and the erlotinib maximum concentration [Cmax ] was decreased by 61%. When erlotinib tablets were administered 2 hours following a 300 mg dose of an H-2 receptor antagonist (ranitidine), the erlotinib AUC was reduced by 33% and the erlotinib Cmax was reduced by 54%. When erlotinib tablets were administered with ranitidine 150 mg twice daily (at least 10 h after the previous ranitidine evening dose and 2 h before the ranitidine morning dose), the erlotinib AUC was decreased by 15% and the erlotinib Cmax was decreased by 17% [see Dose Modifications (2.4), Drug Interactions (7)].


13.1 Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

Two-year carcinogenicity studies were conducted in mice and rats with erlotinib at oral doses of up to 60 mg/kg/day in mice, 5 mg/kg/day in female rats, and 10 mg/kg/day in male rats. The studies were negative for carcinogenic findings. Exposure in mice at the highest dose tested was approximately 10 times the exposure in humans at the erlotinib dose of 150 mg/day. The highest dose evaluated in male rats resulted in exposures that were twice those in humans and exposures at the highest tested dose in female rats were slightly lower than those in humans.

Erlotinib did not cause genetic damage in a series of in vitro assays (bacterial mutation, human lymphocyte chromosome aberration and mammalian cell mutation) and in the in vivo mouse bone marrow micronucleus test.

Erlotinib did not impair fertility in either male or female rats. provides trustworthy package insert and label information about marketed drugs as submitted by manufacturers to the US Food and Drug Administration. Package information is not reviewed or updated separately by Every individual package label entry contains a unique identifier which can be used to secure further details directly from the US National Institutes of Health and/or the FDA.

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