My mother started Tarceva (Erlotinib) 3 weeks ago. She takes 150 mg in the morning. I wake her at 7 am to take it along with a pill to prevent nausea and one to prevent acid reflux. She then goes back to sleep until I wake her for breakfast. We found this easier because it has to be taken 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating. Since eating is so difficult already, taking it after breakfast stole precious hours when she could be eating something. So this way is better for her.
They warned us about the terrible face rash or acne that would probably develop. They said it takes about 8 days before it starts. Well, so far, Mom doesn't have that at all. She's perfectly fine in that respect. But the nausea and vomiting worsened some. That could be because the chemo was pulled after not being successful. In any case, we just increased the anti-nausea meds and that stopped the vomiting.
My brother's doctor told him that she has an 80 year old patient who has been taking Tarceva for a year and it has extended her life. If not for Tarceva, she would have passed away long ago. So, I don't know that it works for everyone, but it seems to work for many people based on what I've researched and been told by doctors, our own and published medical articles. I hope it works for Mom but we just won't know yet. My understanding is that it stops the cancer from spreading, and can even shrink some tumors. Some people have had this happen. So that's what we're hoping for too.
My best to you and your father-in-law,