Our website will soon be relaunched with a fresh look and improved user experience. Take a look by visiting our test site.
Call us 24/7 at (888) 552-6760
Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Lapatinib (Tykerb®)


Brand Name: Tykerb®

Lapatinib is used for the treatment of breast cancer.

Lapatinib belongs in a class of drugs called kinase inhibitors. In some types of cancer, an enzyme called a kinase is abnormal, causing cancer cells to multiply out of control. Kinase inhibitors block the abnormal protein, helping to stop or slow the spread of cancer cells.

This medication comes as a tablet that is taken by mouth. Usually, lapatinib is taken once a day, about an hour before or after a meal. The daily dose should be taken at one time, at around the same time each day, and the tablets should be swallowed whole. For some patients, lapatinib is given with capecitabine, which follows a different schedule. Your doctor will explain exactly how to take your prescribed medications.

Lapatinib side effects

To prevent problematic interactions between lapatinib and other drugs, be sure to tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications, and what other medications and supplements you are currently taking. You should also inform your doctor if you have or ever had a liver tumor, liver disease, or kidney disease, if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding. Lapatinib should not be taken during breastfeeding.

Lapatinib may cause severe diarrhea, which carries a risk of dehydration. Speak with your doctor about how to take care of yourself if this occurs. Your doctor may recommend drinking plenty of liquids, dietary changes, or medication to help prevent dehydration.

Possible side effects may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Sores on the mouth, lips, or throat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Red, painful, numb, or tingling hands and feet
  • Dry skin
  • Pain in the arms, legs, or back
  • Difficulty sleeping

Some of lapatinib’s side effects can be serious. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry cough
  • Coughing up pink or bloody mucus
  • Fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat
  • Weakness
  • Swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • Rash

Please note that this is not a comprehensive list. Patients may experience additional effects not mentioned above.

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), your team of cancer experts will explain each of the side effects of lapatinib with you in detail, as well as the side effects and expectations of all other medications planned as part of your individualized treatment plan.

Lapatinib for cancer treatment

Lapatinib is approved by the FDA for the following cancer treatments:

  • In combination with capecitabine for women with HER2-positive breast cancer that has not improved with other chemotherapy
  • In combination with letrozole in postmenopausal women with HER2-positive and hormone receptor-positive breast cancer who require hormone therapy

At CTCA, our integrative approach to cancer treatment works to fight your disease on all fronts and ensures that you remain at the center of everything we do. We encourage participation from both you and your family to make certain you are comfortable with all decisions made regarding your treatment.

The information provided here is for educational purposes only. In no way should it be considered as offering medical advice. Cancer Treatment Centers of America assumes no responsibility for how this material is used. Please check with a physician if you suspect you are ill. Also note that while Cancer Treatment Centers of America frequently updates its contents, medical information changes rapidly. Therefore, some information may be out of date.