Topic: Tarceva....so spendy, got cleared for it, picked up, now he wont take

One of the last things offered to us was Tarceva, very expensive chemo (I guess you have to work your way up to it since the insurance doesnt want to pay ) He decided to try it, since its a last resort. We got insurance clearance, he picked it up, but the pharmacist gave him a page off the net about it, naming percentages of side effects. Rashes on 74 % all that. She was very concerned.  But what was the deal breaker was the liver itself. It can cause permanent liver damage, and they want to give this to him when he is jaundice some of the time....wow... His liver is probably at about 20%, he cant loose much more without keeling over. Why would they do that?  So here it sits, he says no way.Thru all of this he has felt good and has no pain, the disease is just taking its course. He did not respond to chemo, and altho he did not take it long, he is sorry he took it at all.

Re: Tarceva....so spendy, got cleared for it, picked up, now he wont take

DearRobynhar,
have you tried the search function on top of the page by entering Tarceva?
I believe there were several disc

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Re: Tarceva....so spendy, got cleared for it, picked up, now he wont take

Robynhar,

I have been on Tarceva and Gemzar for the last 6 weeks.  Here is what I know and experienced.  Tarceva in conjunction with Gemzar has been the only drug to have statistically significant impact on increasing survivability for patients with PANCREATIC cancer.  Here is the caveat, statistically significant means that about 6% more patients lived longer than a year.  the reason they tried me on Tarceva is because there is so little research on cholangiocarcinoma and we are willing to try anything.  BUT since it is pancreatic cancer that has the success rate, my diagnoses include pancreatic cancer and the insurance company covers.  For all anyone knows there is tumor in my pancreas. 

as far as side effects, my liver can't get much worse than it already is, but we monitor my liver functions every other week and so far so good.  I did get the "rash" more like acne, but it was minor and well treated with clindamycin gel,  It's practically gone now.  You have to take it on an empty stomach which would probably account for the GI side effects, so I take it at night.  Quite honestly I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of side effects, I am suffering much more from the cumulative effects of the Gemzar, but we won't go into that wink

Re: Tarceva....so spendy, got cleared for it, picked up, now he wont take

My experience with Tarveva:  Tarceva was the first chemo I went on about a year after they took half my liver out.  It was a still a trial drug then (2002), known as OSI 774.  The results were almost immediate -- that is, the first scan showed some spots gone and others reduced.  The side effects, compared to what I've been on since were very mild.  The rash was not a real problem -- didn't itch -- just made me look like I had a pox of some sort.  But, for some reason I had a number of in grown toe-nails -- strange!  I also got dry eyes at the time and still have that.  I was able to continue working daily on restoring a car.  Maybe the environment was good (sort of a dark shop with lacquer thinner prominent).  I had to be very careful in the sun -- got sunburned easily, and more rash in the son.  I was on it for about 1 1/2 years until the spots began getting larger.  That was in 2002 - 2003, and I'm not aware of permanent damage from it, although I've been on a number of other treatments since then and I have no idea where some of my current problems came from -- probably the aggregate of everything. 

After I stopped Tarceva, I had chryoablation to feeze some spots, then went on Gemzar which didn't work at all except for producing harsher side effects.   I then was on Oxaliplatin with Xelodia which worked for over a year and a half.  Most recently (last November) I had SIRS Spears inserted.  I'll find out in a week if the beads are still keeping things stable.

You also mention Tarceva's cost.  Since it was still in the trial stage, I don't know the cost of it, but later found the cost to me for Oxaliplatin if I had to pay.  That cost, per treatment, retailed at about $12,000.  Treatments could be from two weeks to 7 weeks apart for me, depending on my platelet count.