Topotecan (Oral route)
Topotecan hydrochloride should be administered only to patients with baseline neutrophil counts of at least 1500 cells/mm(3) and a platelet count of at least 100,000 cells/mm(3). In order to assess the occurrence of bone marrow suppression, blood cell counts should be monitored .
Topoisomerase I Inhibitor
Uses of This Medicine:
Topotecan is used to treat small cell lung cancer that has relapsed or gotten worse. It belongs to the group of medicines known as antineoplastics or cancer medicines.
Topotecan interferes with the growth of cancer cells, which are eventually destroyed. Since the growth of normal cells may also be affected by the medicine, other unwanted effects may occur. Some of these may be serious and must be reported to your doctor. Some effects, like hair loss, may not be serious but may cause concern. Some unwanted effects may occur after treatment with topotecan has stopped.
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before Using This Medicine:
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of topotecan in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of topotecan in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have diarrhea and age-related kidney problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving topotecan.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems—
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Proper Use of This Medicine:
Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all of the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
Take this medicine only as directed by your doctor to benefit your condition as much as possible. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered.
Swallow the capsule whole with water. Do not open, crush, break, or chew it.
You may take this medicine with or without food.
Be careful not to handle broken or leaking capsules. 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 in your eyes, rinse them immediately with gently flowing water for at least 15 minutes and call your doctor right away.
Topotecan often causes nausea and vomiting. It is very important that you continue to receive the medicine even if it makes you feel ill. Ask your doctor for ways to lessen these effects.
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
If you vomit after taking your medicine, call your doctor or pharmacist for instructions.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Precautions While Using This Medicine:
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly. Blood tests are needed to check for unwanted effects.
Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
Topotecan can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells in your blood, increasing the chance of getting an infection. It can also lower the number of platelets, which are necessary for proper blood clotting. If this occurs, there are certain precautions you can take, especially when your blood count is low, to reduce the risk of infection or bleeding:
Topotecan may cause diarrhea, and in some cases it can be severe. Do not take any medicine to treat diarrhea without first checking with your doctor. Diarrhea medicines may make the diarrhea worse or make it last longer. If you have any questions about this or if mild diarrhea continues or gets worse, check with your doctor.
This medicine may cause some people to become more tired or weaker than they are normally. If either of these side effects occurs, do not drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.
Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you have breathing problems, a cough, a fever, a fast heartbeat, or shortness of breath. These could be symptoms of a serious lung problem.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Side Effects of This Medicine:
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Last Updated: 4/4/2014
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