Etoposide (Injection)

Introduction

Etoposide (e-TOE-poe-side)

Treats cancer of the testicles and small cell lung cancer in combination with other medicines. Also called VP-16.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

Etopophos

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not receive this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to etoposide. You should not receive this medicine if you are pregnant.

How to Use This Medicine

Injectable

  • Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins. The medicine must be injected slowly, so your IV tube will need to stay in place for 30 to 60 minutes.
  • You will receive this medicine while you are in a hospital or cancer treatment center. A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.

If a dose is missed:

  • This medicine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss a dose, call your doctor, home health caregiver, or treatment clinic for instructions.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using levamisole (Ergamisol®) or cyclosporine (Gengraf®, Neoral®, Sandimmune®).
  • Talk to your doctor before getting flu shots or other vaccines while you are receiving this medicine. Vaccines may not work as well, or they could make you ill while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are breastfeeding or if you have kidney disease.
  • This medicine may cause a serious type of allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Tell your doctor or nurse right away if you have chills, fever, lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting, fast heartbeat, swelling of the face, tongue, or throat, or trouble with breathing after you receive the medicine.
  • This medicine may cause leukemia (cancer of the blood or bone marrow) in rare cases. Talk with your doctor about any concerns you have about this.
  • This medicine lowers the number of some types of blood cells in your body. Because of this, you may bleed or get infections more easily. To help with these problems, avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Wash your hands often. Stay away from rough sports or other situations where you could be bruised, cut, or injured. Brush and floss your teeth gently. Be careful when using sharp objects, including razors and fingernail clippers.
  • Cancer medicines can cause nausea and/or vomiting in most people, sometimes even after receiving medicines to prevent it. Ask your doctor or nurse about other ways to control these side effects.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Fast or uneven heartbeat.
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting.
  • Red or dark brown urine.
  • Redness, pain, or swelling where the needle is placed.
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness.
  • Wheezing or trouble breathing.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Bad or unusual taste in your mouth.
  • Constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain.
  • Hair loss.
  • Loss of appetite, weight loss.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Rash or itching skin.
  • Sores, ulcers, or white patch in the mouth or lips.
  • Warmth or redness in your face, neck, arms, or upper chest.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
Adam Data Copyright The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only--they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

For information 410.787.4000

© 2013 UM Baltimore Washington Medical Center.  All rights reserved.

301 Hospital Drive, Glen Burnie, MD 21061 | 410-787-4000 | TTY 410-787-4498