Topotecan (Injection)

Introduction

Topotecan (toe-poe-TEE-kan)

Treats cancer of the ovary, lungs, and cervix.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

Hycamtin

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not receive this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to topotecan. You should not receive this medicine if you have severe bone marrow depression, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

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.
  • 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. It may also be given by a home health caregiver.
  • 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 is usually given every day for 3 to 5 days. This 3-day or 5-day treatment is given again every 21 days for 2 or 3 months, or until your body responds to the medicine. Each treatment usually takes about 30 minutes.

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 about ALL other medicines or treatments you are receiving while you are being treated with topotecan. This includes carboplatin (Paraplatin®), cisplatin (Platinol®), filgrastim (Neupogen®), or pegfilgrastim (Neulasta®).

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 have kidney disease, lung disease, low white blood cells, or any type of infection.
  • 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.
  • If you develop a skin rash or any allergic reaction to this medicine, stop using the medicine and check with your doctor as soon as possible.
  • If you have severe diarrhea, ask your doctor before taking any medicine to stop the diarrhea.
  • Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you start having breathing problems, cough, fast heartbeat, fever, shortness of breath, or wheezing. These could be symptoms of a serious lung problem.
  • 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.
  • This medicine may make you weak or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.
  • 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:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
  • Fast or uneven heartbeat.
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Shortness of breath or troubled breathing.
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising.
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness.

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

  • Hair loss.
  • Headache.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Mild nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or stomach pain.
  • Pain, itching, burning, swelling, or a lump under your skin where the needle is placed.
  • Skin rash.
  • Sores or ulcers on the lips or in the mouth.

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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