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Topotecan (By mouth)

Topotecan (toe-poe-TEE-kan)

Treats small cell lung cancer.

Brand Name(s):

Hycamtin

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to topotecan, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How to Use This Medicine:

Capsule

  • Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to use. Do not use more than directed.
  • Swallow the capsule whole with water. Do not open, crush, break, or chew it.
  • You may also receive medicines to help prevent nausea and vomiting.
  • Do not touch broken or leaking capsules with your bare hands. 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 into your eyes, rinse them immediately with gently flowing water for at least 15 minutes and call your doctor right away.
  • Read and follow the patient instructions that come with this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • Missed dose: If you miss a dose or vomit after taking a dose of this medicine, take your next dose at the next scheduled time. Do not take another dose on the same day.
  • Store the medicine in its original carton in the refrigerator. Do not freeze. Protect from light.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

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

  • Some medicines can affect how topotecan works. Tell your doctor if you are using cyclosporine, elacridar, ketoconazole, ritonavir, saquinavir, or other medicines to treat breast cancer.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • This medicine may cause birth defects if either partner is using it during conception or pregnancy. Tell your doctor right away if you or your partner becomes pregnant. Women must use an effective form of birth control during treatment and for at least 6 months after the last dose. Men must use an effective form of birth control during treatment and for 3 months after the last dose.
  • Do not breastfeed during treatment with this medicine and for 1 week after the last dose.
  • Tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, blood or bone marrow problems, any type of infection, or a history of lung disease or breathing problems. Tell your doctor if you have had radiation treatment.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Neutropenic enterocolitis (a bowel problem that can be life-threatening)
    • Lung problems (including interstitial lung disease)
  • 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.
  • This medicine may make you weak or tired. Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you.
  • This medicine may make you bleed, bruise, or get infections more easily. Take precautions to prevent illness and injury. Wash your hands often.
  • This medicine can cause diarrhea. Call your doctor if the diarrhea becomes severe, does not stop, or is bloody. Do not take any medicine to stop diarrhea until you have talked to your doctor. Diarrhea can occur 2 months or more after you stop taking this medicine.
  • This medicine could cause infertility. Talk with your doctor before using this medicine if you plan to have children.
  • Cancer medicine can cause nausea or vomiting, sometimes even after you receive medicine to prevent these effects. Ask your doctor or nurse about other ways to control any nausea or vomiting that might happen.
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

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
  • Trouble breathing
  • Severe diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, body aches

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

  • Hair loss or thinning of the hair
  • Mild diarrhea, nausea, or 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


Last Updated: 3/19/2020

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