What is/are Etoposide Capsules?
ETOPOSIDE, VP-16 is a chemotherapy drug. It is used to treat small cell lung cancer and other cancers. This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
What should I tell my health care providers before I take this medicine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
infection kidney disease low blood counts, like low white cell, platelet, or red cell counts an unusual or allergic reaction to etoposide, other chemotherapeutic agents, 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. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Do not open, crush, or chew the capsules. It is advisable to wear gloves when handling this medicine. 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.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
Note: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
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?
cyclosporine medicines to increase blood counts like filgrastim, pegfilgrastim, sargramostim vaccines
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care providers a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What side effects may I notice from this medicine?
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
low blood counts - this medicine may decrease the number of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. You may be at increased risk for infections and bleeding.
signs of infection - fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine signs of decreased platelets or bleeding - bruising, pinpoint red spots on the skin, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine signs of decreased red blood cells - unusually weak or tired, fainting spells, lightheadedness breathing problems changes in vision mouth or throat sores or ulcers pain, tingling, numbness in the hands or feet redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth seizures vomiting
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
change in taste diarrhea hair loss nausea stomach pain
This list may not describe all possible side effects.
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
Visit your doctor for checks on your progress. 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.
In some cases, you may be given additional medicines to help with side effects. Follow all directions for their use.
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.
Where should I keep this medicine?
Keep out of the reach of children.
Store in a refrigerator between 2 and 8 degrees C (36 and 46 degrees F). Do not freeze. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.
Mechanism of action
Etoposide forms a ternary complex with DNA and the topoisomerase II enzyme (which aids in DNA unwinding), prevents re-ligation of the DNA strands, and by doing so causes DNA strands to break. Cancer cells rely on this enzyme more than healthy cells, since they divide more rapidly. Therefore, this causes errors in DNA synthesis and promotes apoptosis of the cancer cell.
Etoposide is used as a form of chemotherapy for cancers such as Kaposi’s sarcoma, Ewing's sarcoma, lung cancer, testicular cancer, lymphoma, nonlymphocytic leukemia, and glioblastoma multiforme. It is often given in combination with other drugs (such as bleomycin in treating testicular cancer). It is also sometimes used in a conditioning regimen prior to a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant.
- low blood pressure
- hair loss
- pain and or burning at the IV site
- constipation or diarrhea
- metallic food taste
- Bone marrow suppression, leading to:
- decreased white blood cell counts (leading to increased susceptibility to infections)
- low red blood cell counts (anemia)
- low platelet counts (leading to easy bruising and bleeding)
Less common are:
- nausea and vomiting
- allergic-type reactions
- fever, often occurring shortly after IV administration and not due to infection
- mouth sores
- Acute myeloid leukemia (which ironically can be treated with etoposide itself)
Besides, when given with warfarin, it may cause bleeding.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Etoposide, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.