topotecan (generic name)

It is used to treat lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and cervical 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 lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and cervical 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:
  • blood disorders
  • dehydration
  • diarrhea
  • 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
  • recent or ongoing radiation therapy
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to topotecan, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

This medicine is for infusion into a vein. It is usually given by a health care professional in a hospital or clinic setting.

In rare cases, you might get this medicine at home. You will be taught how to give this medicine. Use exactly as directed. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.

It is important that you put your used needles and syringes in a special sharps container. Do not put them in a trash can. If you do not have a sharps container, call your pharmacist or healthcare provider to get one.

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

What if I miss a dose?

It is important not to miss your dose. Call your doctor or health care professional if you are unable to keep an appointment.

What may interact with this medicine?

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

Talk to your prescriber or health care professional before taking any of these medicines:

  • aspirin
  • acetaminophen
  • ibuprofen
  • naproxen
  • ketoprofen

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: September 02, 2009
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