Etoposide

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Generic Name: Etoposide Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Uses

What is Etoposide used for?

Etoposide is commonly used alone or in combination with other medications to treat certain forms of lung cancer (such as small cell lung cancer). Etoposide works by slowing the growth of cancer cells.

How should I take Etoposide?

Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.

Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often or for longer than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and your risk of side effects will increase.

Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while using this medication unless your doctor or pharmacist says you may do so safely. Grapefruit can affect the removal of etoposide from your body, which may affect how etoposide works. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs and may harm an unborn baby, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from the capsules.

How do I store Etoposide?

Etoposide is best stored in the refrigerator. To prevent drug damage, do not freeze. There may be different brands of Etoposide that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush Etoposide down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Etoposide?

Before taking etoposide, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney disease, liver disease, blood problems (such as low red blood cells/white blood cells/platelets), previous radiation/chemotherapy treatment.

Etoposide can make you more likely to get infections or may worsen any current infections. Therefore, wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infection. Avoid contact with people who have infections that may spread to others (such as chickenpox, measles, flu). Consult your doctor if you have been exposed to an infection or for more details.

Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor. Avoid contact with people who have recently received live vaccines (such as flu vaccine inhaled through the nose).

To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.

Daily use of alcohol while using this medicine may increase your risk for stomach bleeding. Limit alcoholic beverages. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially drowsiness, weakness, mouth/throat sores, loss of appetite, low white blood cells, and loss of too much body water (dehydration).

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not become pregnant while taking etoposide. Etoposide may harm an unborn baby. Women should ask about reliable forms of birth control while taking this medication and for 6 months after stopping treatment. Men should ask about reliable forms of birth control while taking this medication and for 4 months after stopping treatment. If you or your partner becomes pregnant, talk to your doctor right away about the risks and benefits of this medication.

Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs and may harm an unborn baby, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from the capsules.

This medication passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using etoposide is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this Etoposide during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Etoposide. Etoposide is pregnancy risk category D according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk,
  • B=No risk in some studies,
  • C=There may be some risk,
  • D=Positive evidence of risk,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Etoposide?

Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or diarrhea may occur. Nausea and vomiting can be severe. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Eating several small meals, not eating before treatment, or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Temporary hair loss may occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.

Pain or sores in the mouth and throat may occur. Brush your teeth carefully/gently, avoid using mouthwash that contains alcohol, and rinse your mouth frequently with cool water mixed with baking soda or salt. It may also be best to eat soft, moist foods.

People using this medication may have serious side effects. However, your doctor has prescribed this drug because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk ofside effects. Careful monitoring by your doctor may decrease your risk.

This medication may lower your ability to fight infections. This may make you more likely to get a serious (rarely fatal) infection or make any infection you have worse. Tell your doctor right away if you have any signs of infection (such as fever, chills, persistent sore throat, cough).

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: numbness/tingling of arms/legs, sudden vision changes, eye pain, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine, painful/difficult swallowing.

Although etoposide may be used to treat certain leukemias, it may rarely cause acute leukemia. Ask your doctor for more details.

This medication can affect sperm production, an effect that may lower male fertility. This medication may also lower female fertility. Consult your doctor for more details.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing, fast heartbeat, seizures.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with Etoposide?

Etoposide may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Does food or alcohol interact with Etoposide?

Etoposide may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Etoposide?

Etoposide may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this Etoposide.

What is the dose of Etoposide for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Testicular Cancer

In combination with other approved chemotherapeutic agents:

50 to 100 mg/m2 IV over 30 to 60 minutes once a day on days 1 through 5 every 3 to 4 weeks to 100 mg/m2 IV over 30 to 60 minutes once a day on days 1, 3, and 5 every 3 to 4 weeks

Comments:

-A longer duration of IV administration may be used if the volume of fluid to be infused is a concern.

-The dosage should be modified to consider the myelosuppressive effects of other drugs in the combination or the effects of prior x-ray therapy or chemotherapy which may have compromised bone marrow reserve.

Use: In combination therapy with other approved chemotherapeutic agents in patients with refractory testicular tumors who have already received appropriate surgical, chemotherapeutic, and radiotherapeutic therapy

Usual Adult Dose for Small Cell Lung Cancer

IV:

In combination with other approved chemotherapeutic agents:

35 mg/m2 IV over 30 to 60 minutes once a day for 4 days to 50 mg/m2 IV over 30 to 60 minutes once a day for 5 days every 3 to 4 weeks

Oral:

In combination with other approved chemotherapeutic agents:

The recommended dose is 2 times the IV dose rounded to the nearest 50 mg (i.e., 2 times 35 mg/m2 IV once a day for 4 days to 50 mg/m2 IV once a day for 5 days equaling 70 mg/m2 orally once a day for 4 days to 100 mg/m2 orally once a day for 5 days)

Comments:

-A longer duration of IV administration may be used if the volume of fluid to be infused is a concern.

-The dosage should be modified to consider the myelosuppressive effects of other drugs in the combination or the effects of prior x-ray therapy or chemotherapy which may have compromised bone marrow reserve.

Use: In combination with other approved chemotherapeutic agents as first line treatment in patients with small cell lung cancer

Renal Dose Adjustments

CrCl greater than 50 mL/min: Administer 100% of the normal dose

CrCl 15 to 50 mL/min: Administer 75% of the normal dose

CrCl less than 15 mL/min: Data not available

Liver Dose Adjustments

Data not available

Dose Adjustments

The dose should be modified to consider the myelosuppressive effects of other drugs in the combination or the effects of prior X-ray therapy or chemotherapy which may have compromised bone marrow reserve.

Other Comments

Administration advice:

-Oral capsules should be administered on an empty stomach (1 hour before or 2 hours after food).

-Courses of therapy may be repeated at 3 to 4 week intervals, after adequate recovery from toxicity.

Monitoring:

-Patients should be frequently observed for myelosuppression both during and after therapy. Dose-limiting bone marrow suppression is the most significant toxicity. The platelet count, hemoglobin, white blood cell count, and differential should be obtained at the start of therapy and prior to each subsequent dose.

Reconstitution/preparation/storage advice:

-Consult the manufacturer product information.

General:

-The parenteral formulation of this drug is for IV administration only and should not be mixed with any other drug.

What is the dose of Etoposide for a child?

The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How is Etoposide available?

Etoposide is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Intravenous solution
  • Oral capsule

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Etoposide, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: January 29, 2018 | Last Modified: January 29, 2018

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