Etoposide (By mouth)


Etoposide (e-TOE-poe-side)
Treats testicle cancer, lung cancer, lymphomas, nonlymphocytic leukemia, and other kinds of cancer. Also called VP-16.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not take this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to etoposide.

How to Use This Medicine

Capsule, Liquid Filled Capsule
  • This medicine, like all medicines used to treat cancer, is very strong. Make sure you understand why you are getting it and what the risks and benefits of treatment are. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor.
  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often you should take it. Make sure you understand your doctor's instructions.
  • If you vomit right after you take the medicine, call your doctor.
If a dose is missed:
  • Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the capsules in the refrigerator. Do not freeze them.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
  • You should not use aspirin or any product that has aspirin in it (such as some cold medicines) unless you have talked to your doctor first.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol while being treated with this medicine.
  • Talk to your doctor before getting any vaccines (such as flu shots).

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Do not breastfeed while you are taking this medicine.
  • You may get infections more easily while you are taking etoposide. Stay away from crowds or people with colds, flu, or other infections.
  • This medicine may make your mouth sore and irritated. Brush your teeth with a soft-bristle toothbrush or mouth swab.
  • This medicine can cause nausea and vomiting. Your doctor may prescribe medicine to keep you from feeling sick and throwing up. If the medicine does not help (you can't keep liquids down), call your doctor.
  • Do not get pregnant while you or your sexual partner are taking etoposide. Use an effective form of birth control while you are being treated with this medicine.
  • If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor before you start your treatments. If you become pregnant, tell your doctor right away. Etoposide taken during a pregnancy may be harmful to an unborn baby.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
  • Unexplained fever, chills, or sore throat
  • Wheezing or trouble breathing
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Painful mouth sores that keep you from drinking liquids
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Blood in urine or stools
  • Confusion
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hair loss
  • Nausea, vomiting

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: ,
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