(a-fa-ti-nib ) ,


(trade name)


Therapeutic: antineoplastics
Pharmacologic: kinase inhibitors
Pregnancy Category: D


First-line treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) where the tumor has a specific epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) deletion or substitution mutation detectable by an FDA-approved test.


Inhibits tyrosine kinases which results in slowed proliferation of specific tumor cell lines

Therapeutic effects

Decreased spread of NSCLC


Absorption: Well abosrbed (92%) following oral administration; absorption is decreased by high fat meal.
Distribution: Unknown
Metabolism and Excretion: Metabolites occur partly as protein-bound products. Excretion is primarily fecal (85%) as parent drug; 4% excreted in urine.
Half-life: 37 hr

Time/action profile (improved progression-free survival)

PO3 mos12 mos20 mos


Contraindicated in: Lactation: Discontinue drug or discontinue breast feeding; Obstetric: May cause fetal harm.
Use Cautiously in: Moderate-severe renal or hepatic impairment (dose adjustment may be necessary);genetic implication Asian ethnicity (may be ↑ susceptible to interstitial lung disease); Obstetric: Patients with child-bearing potential (highly effective contraception should be used during and for at least 2 wks after last dose); Pediatric: Safe and effective use in children has not been established.

Adverse Reactions/Side Effects

Ear, Eye, Nose, Throat

  • keratitis


  • interstitial lung disease (life-threatening)


  • hepatic toxicity (life-threatening)
  • diarrhea (most frequent)
  • ↓ appetite
  • stomatitis


  • cutaneous reactions (including bullous/blistering/exfoliating reactions, acneiform erruptions and palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia)
  • dry skin
  • pruritus
  • paronychia
  • rash

Fluid and Electrolyte

  • hypokalemia


Drug-Drug interaction

Concurrent use of P-gp inhibitors including amiodarone, cyclosporine, erythromycin, itraconazole, ketoconazole, quinidineritonavir, saquinavir, tacrolimus, or verapamil ↑ blood levels and the risk of toxicity; dosage adjustment may be necessary (ritonavir may be given concurrently or 6 hr after).Concurrent use of P-gp inducers including carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoinrifampicin or rifampin ↓ blood levels and may ↓ effectiveness; dosage adjustment may be necessary.


Oral (Adults) 40 mg/day; concurrent use of P-gp inhibitors—reduce dose by 10 mg/day if necessary; concurrent use of P-gp inducers—increase dose by 10 mg/day if necessary. Dose reductions recommended for various toxicities. Continue until disease progression or occurrence of unacceptable toxicity


Tablets: 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg

Nursing implications

Nursing assessment

  • Monitor for diarrhea; occurs frequently. Provide patient with an antidiarrheal agent (loperamide) at the onset of diarrhea and until diarrhea ceases for 12 hrs. If diarrhea is severe and lasts more than 48 hr despite use of antidiarrheal agent (Grade 2 or higher), withhold afatinib until diarrhea resolves to Grade 1 or less, then resume with reduced dose of 10 mg/day.
  • Assess for cutaneous reactions (bullous, blistering, exfoliative lesions; rash, erythema, acneiform rash) periodically during therapy. Discontinue afatinib if life-threatening lesions or prolonged Grade 2 cutaneous lesions lasting ≥7 days, intolerable Grade 2, or Grade 3 cutaneous reactions occur. Withhold afatinib until reaction resolves to Grade 1 or less and resume at 10 mg/day.
  • Monitor for signs and symptoms of interstitial lung disease (lung infiltration, pneumonitis, acute respiratory distress syndrome, allergic alveolitis; genetic implication may occur more commonly in patients of Asian ethnicity. Withhold afatinib if symptoms occur; discontinue if interstitial lung disease is confirmed.
  • Lab Test Considerations: Monitor liver function tests periodically during therapy. If severe decline in liver function occurs, discontinue afatinib. May cause ↑ AST and ALT.
    • May cause hypokalemia.

Potential Nursing Diagnoses

Diarrhea (Side Effects)


  • Oral: Administer once daily on an empty stomach, at least 1 hr before or 2 hrs after meals.

Patient/Family Teaching

  • Instruct patient to take afatinib as directed. Take missed dose as soon as remembered unless within 12 hrs of next dose, then omit and take next dose at scheduled time; do not double doses.
  • Caution patient to notify health care professional if signs and symptoms of keratitis (acute or worsening eye inflammation, lacrimation, light sensitivity, blurred vision, eye pain, and/or red eye) occur. Withhold if symptoms occur; if ulcerative keratitis is confirmed, discontinue afatinib. Advise patient that use of contact lenses is also a risk factor.
  • Advise patient to wear sunscreen and protective clothing during therapy to minimize risk of skin disorders.
  • Inform patient that diarrhea occurs in most patients and may cause dehydration and renal impairment. Notify health care professional if diarrhea is severe or persistent, if new or worsening lung symptoms (difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, cough, fever), symptoms of liver problems (yellow skin or whites of eyes, dark brown urine, pain on right side of abdomen, unusual bleeding or bruising, lethargy) or if symptoms of left ventricular dysfunction (shortness of breath, exercise intolerance, cough, fatigue, swelling or ankles or feet, palpitations, sudden weight gain) occur.
  • Advise patient to notify health care professional of all Rx or OTC medications, vitamins, or herbal products being taken and to consult with health care professional before taking other medications.
  • Advise female patients to use highly effective contraception during and for at least 2 wks after last dose and to avoid breast feeding. If pregnancy occurs, instruct patient to notify health care professional immediately.

Evaluation/Desired Outcomes

  • Decreased spread of non-small cell lung cancer.
References in periodicals archive ?
Contract notice: Cytostatic with the active substance afatinib
She was also prescribed a drug known as afatinib which initially worked well and stopped the cancer from spreading further.
Jean Dowd, 68, was started on a drug called afatinib but actually had a lung tumour which required chemotherapy.
Afatinib versus erlotinib as second-line treatment of patients with advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the lung (LUX-Lung 8): an open-label randomised controlled phase 3 trial.
EGFR mutations are important to identify, as neoplasms demonstrating these mutations may be susceptible to EGFRtyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy (ie, erlotinib; gefitinib; afatinib, Boehringer Ingelheim, Ingelheim, Germany]).
Clinical activity of afatinib in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer harbouring uncommon EGFR mutations: A combined post-hoc analysis of LUX-Lung 2, LUX-Lung 3, and LUX-Lung 6.
Patients may benefit from treatment with afatinib, erlotinib, or gefitinib.
Retrospective analysis of 3 clinical trials evaluating clinical activity of afatinib in EGFR mutant non-small cell lung cancer demonstrated that patients with EGFR exon 20 insertion mutations had significantly shorter median overall survival (9.
Khattab said the quality of the country's health care professionals and the speed of the Health Ministry's drug-approval process helped facilitate the release of new drug, Afatinib.
In comparison to afatinib as a tyrosine kinase inhibitor for the treatment of mCRC patients, cetuximab also showed lower incidence of adverse effects as the rate of diarrhea and vomiting in cetuximab treated patients was 0/14(0.
Afatinib received FDA approval in July 2013 for first-line treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors have EGFR mutations as detected by an FDA-approved test.