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Topotecan (By mouth)
Treats small cell lung cancer. This is a cancer medicine or antineoplastic agent.
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to topotecan, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have severe bone marrow depression (low blood counts).
How to Use This Medicine
- 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 tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
- Swallow the capsule whole with water. Do not open, crush, break, or chew it.
- You may take this medicine with or without food.
- You may also receive medicines to help prevent nausea and vomiting.
- Be careful not to handle broken or leaking capsules. If you get the contents from the capsule on your skin, wash the area with soap and water and call your doctor right away. If the medicine gets in your eyes, rinse them immediately with gently flowing water for at least 15 minutes and call your doctor right away.
If a dose is missed:
- If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
- If you vomit after taking your medicine, call your doctor or pharmacist for instructions.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
- Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
- Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.
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 cyclosporine (Gengraf®, Neoral®, or Sandimmune®), elacridar, ketoconazole (Nizoral®), ritonavir (Norvir®), or saquinavir (Fortovase® or Invirase®).
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 or a history of interstitial lung disease (a serious lung problem).
- Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
- 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 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 have breathing problems, a cough, a fever, a fast heartbeat, or shortness of breath. 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 cause some people to become more tired, drowsy, sleepy, or weaker than they are normally. If any of these side effects occur, do not drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.
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.
- Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
- Severe 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 or thinning of the hair.
- Loss of appetite.
- Mild diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain.
- Weight loss.
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor