Vizimpro® (dacomitinib)

Vizimpro is a first-line treatment for people with metastatic (has spread to other parts of the body) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with certain EGFR mutations.1 It is estimated that approximately 10-20 percent of people with NSCLC have a mutation associated with EGFR, which stands for epidermal growth factor receptor. EGFR mutations are most often found in tumors in patients who have never smoked (patients may be considered “never smokers” if they have smoked less than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime). The tumors are likely to be adenocarcinoma. However, EGFR mutations are not exclusive to this type of NSCLC or non-smokers – mutations have also been found in smokers and in other tumor types.2

There are different types of mutations that researchers have identified with EGFR. Dacomitinib is approved to treat the exon 19 deletion or exon 21 L858R substitution mutations. These mutations are determined by a genetic test on the cancer cells.1

How does dacomitinib work?

Lung cancers that have an EGFR mutation have an excess of EGFR receptors on the surface of their cells. Vizimpro helps block these receptors and disrupts the activity of the EGFR receptor. In clinical trials, patients who received dacomitinib had a positive improvement in their progression-free survival time (the length of time during treatment or immediately following before the cancer worsens). The median progression-free survival was 14.7 months for patients on Vizimpro and 9.2 months for those on Iressa® (gefitinib).1

What are the possible side effects of dacomitinib?

The most common side effects experienced by patients receiving dacomitinib in clinical trials included diarrhea, rash, skin infection around nails, mouth pain and sores, decreased appetite, dry skin, decreased weight, hair loss (alopecia), cough, and itching. Serious adverse reactions occurred in some patients, including interstitial lung disease (which causes lung or breathing problems), severe diarrhea, and severe skin reactions.1

These are not all the possible side effects of dacomitinib. People taking dacomitinib should talk to their doctor about potential side effects.

Things to know about dacomitinib

Before starting treatment with dacomitinib, patients should talk to their doctor about all their medical conditions, including if they:2

  • Have frequent diarrhea
  • Have a history of lung or breathing problems (other than lung cancer)
  • Are pregnant or planning to become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed

Dacomitinib can cause harm to a developing fetus and should not be taken by women who are pregnant. While taking dacomitinib, females who can become pregnant should use contraceptives during treatment and for a period of time after completing treatment (patients should discuss appropriate birth control methods, and how long they need to use them, with their doctor). Females should not breastfeed during dacomitinib treatment and for a period of time following the final dose (patients should discuss breastfeeding considerations with their doctor).2

Before beginning treatment with dacomitinib, patients should talk to their doctor about all medications (prescription and over-the-counter), vitamins, and supplements they are taking. Some medications or supplements may interfere with each other or cause additional side effects.

While taking dacomitinib, patients should minimize their exposure to sunlight. Sunlight may increase skin reactions that can occur with dacomitinib.5

Receiving dacomitinib

Dacomitinib comes in a tablet which is taken by mouth. Patients should take their medication as prescribed by their doctor. Patients should talk to their doctor if they have any questions, or if they have questions regarding their dacomitinib regimen.2

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Vizimpro.

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Written by: Emily Downward | Last reviewed: May 2021.