topotecan (generic name)

It is used to treat small cell lung cancer
(TOE poe TEE kan)
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What is this medicine?

TOPOTECAN (TOE poe TEE kan) is a chemotherapy drug. It is used to treat small cell lung cancer.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • immune system problems
  • infection (especially a virus infection such as chickenpox, cold sores, or herpes)
  • kidney disease
  • low blood counts, like low white cell, platelet, or red cell counts
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to topotecan, gelatin, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. You can take it with or without food. Do not cut, crush, or chew this medicine. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take it more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
  • cyclosporine
  • tacrolimus

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • amiodarone
  • antiviral medicines for HIV or AIDS
  • clarithromycin
  • diltiazem
  • erythromycin
  • grapefruit or grapefruit juice
  • medicines for fungal infections like ketoconazole and itraconazole
  • mefloquine
  • mifepristone, RU-486
  • nelfinavir
  • nicardipine
  • propafenone
  • quinidine
  • sirolimus
  • tamoxifen
  • testosterone
  • verapamil

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

This drug may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon, as chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment even though you feel ill unless your doctor tells you to stop.

Call your doctor or health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. This drug decreases your body's ability to fight infections. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.

This medicine may increase your risk to bruise or bleed. Call your doctor or health care professional if you notice any unusual bleeding.

Be careful brushing and flossing your teeth or using a toothpick because you may get an infection or bleed more easily. If you have any dental work done, tell your dentist you are receiving this medicine.

Avoid taking products that contain aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen unless instructed by your doctor. These medicines may hide a fever.

Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine.

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Last Updated: December 16, 2009
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