If you have certain types of cancer, your doctor might suggest Tarceva as a treatment option. It’s a prescription drug used to treat the following conditions in adults:

Your doctor may prescribe Tarceva as a first-time treatment or a long-term (maintenance) treatment for NSCLC. Your doctor may also prescribe Tarceva if your NSCLC has worsened after chemotherapy.

If you use Tarceva to treat cancer, your doctor will likely prescribe Infugem.

Tarceva comes as a tablet you swallow. It belongs to the drug class called kinase inhibitors and contains the active ingredient erlotinib. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.)

This article describes the dosages of Tarceva, as well as its strengths and how to take it. To learn more about Tarceva, see this in-depth article.

Note: This chart highlights the basics of Tarceva’s dosage. Be sure to read on for more detail.

Condition Dose Dosage schedule
NSCLC 150 milligrams (mg) once daily
pancreatic cancer 100 tablets. once daily

Please keep in mind that this article covers Tarceva’s standard dosage schedule, which is provided by the drug’s manufacturer. But always follow the dosing instructions your doctor prescribes.

The dosages for Tarceva are described in this section.

What is Tarceva’s form?

Tarceva is a tablet that you swallow.

What strengths does Tarceva come in?

Tarceva has three strengths.

  • 25 milligrams is a lot.
  • 100 tablets.
  • 150 tablets.

What are the usual dosages of Tarceva?

The information below describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. But be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Dosage for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

The recommended dosage to treat NSCLC is 150 tablets. of Tarceva taken once per day. You’ll likely continue to take the drug until your NSCLC gets worse or you experience unmanageable side effects.

Dosage for pancreatic cancer

The recommended dosage to treat pancreatic cancer is 100 tablets. of Tarceva taken once per day. You’ll likely continue to take the drug until your pancreatic cancer gets worse or you experience unmanageable side effects. Your doctor will likely prescribe Infugem (gemcitabine), a chemotherapy drug, to take along with Tarceva.

Is Tarceva used long term?

Tarceva is usually used for a long time. If you and your doctor agree that it is safe and effective for your condition, you will likely take it for a long time.

Dosage adjustments

Your doctor may increase or decrease your Tarceva dosage if you take other medications. Tell your doctor if you want to take any other drugs.

If you smoke while taking Tarceva, your doctor may increase your dose. If you stop smoking while taking Tarceva, you should tell your doctor.

The amount of Tarceva you are prescribed may be affected by a number of factors. These include:

  • The condition you are using the drug to treat.
  • You take other drugs.
  • If you smoke tobacco.
  • You may have other conditions.

Tarceva is a pill that is taken by mouth. You should not eat the tablets if you have no stomach. An empty stomach is considered an hour before or two hours after eating.

For information on the expiration, storage, and disposal of Tarceva, see this article.

Accessible drug containers and labels

“If you can’t read the prescription label on your medication, you should tell your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies have labels for medication.”

  • Large print or use of blind.
  • You can use a code on a phone to change the text to sound.

“If your current pharmacy doesn’t offer accessibility features, your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend a new pharmacy.”

Let your pharmacist know if you have trouble opening bottles. They may be able to deliver Tarceva in a container. They may have tips to make it easier to open the drug container.

“If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is close to when you would take your next dose, don’t take it. If you miss a dose, don’t take two doses in one day.”

If you are unsure about taking the dose you missed, call your doctor or the pharmacy.

If you need help remembering to take your dose of Tarceva on time, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or downloading a reminder app on your phone.

Only take the Tarceva dose your doctor prescribes. If you take too much of the drug, your doctor will stop your Tarceva treatment.

What to do in case you take too much Tarceva

Call your doctor right away if you think you’ve taken too much Tarceva. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room.

The dosages provided by the drug manufacturer are described in the sections above. If your doctor recommends Tarceva, they will prescribe the correct amount.

Remember, you should not change your dosage of Tarceva without your doctor’s recommendation. Only take Tarceva exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your current dosage. Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask:

  • Does my Tarceva dose need to be changed if I take other drugs with it?
  • Does the time of day affect my Tarceva use?
  • Does my dose need to be changed if I have side effects?

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.