The main objective of this study was to develop a pharmacokinetic model in order to describe the intestinal absorption of erlotinib in rat and to quantify the interaction of levofloxacin on this process in well- and under-nourished rats. Absorption studies were performed in male Wistar rats. Concentration–time profiles in proximal and distal intestine were analysed through non-linear mixed effect modelling using the NONMEM software version 7.3. Simulations were performed in order to explore the influence of covariates on the apparent absorption rate constant. A passive absorption and an active secretion process best-described erlotinib absorption from lumen to enterocyte. The developed model indicates that levofloxacin exerts an inhibition on erlotinib efflux transporters of the gut epithelium. Undernourishment proved to significantly decrease the maximum capacity of the secretion process. Simulations evidenced that erlotinib absorption only takes place at high enough drug concentrations to overcome the effect of efflux transporters. On the other hand, when levofloxacin is present in the intestinal lumen of undernourished rats, erlotinib drug absorption takes place even at low erlotinib concentrations. In the clinical setting, this interaction may result in increased exposure to erlotinib, especially in undernourished cancer patients. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.