Hycamtin

Generic Name: topotecan (TOE-poe-TEE-kan)
Brand Name: Hycamtin

Hycamtin may cause severe and sometimes fatal bone marrow suppression and blood problems. These blood problems may increase the risk of developing a severe infection. Hycamtin should not be used in patients who have low platelet levels or very low white blood cell levels. Contact your doctor at once if you have symptoms of an infection (eg, fever, chills, persistent sore throat, painful urination), unusual bruising or bleeding, or unusual fatigue. Frequent blood tests will be performed to monitor for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.


Hycamtin is used for:

Treating certain types of ovarian or lung cancer that do not respond well to other types of cancer treatment. It may be used to treat certain types of cervical cancer that cannot be treated by surgery or radiation therapy. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Hycamtin is an antineoplastic. It works by killing certain cancer cells.

Do NOT use Hycamtin if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Hycamtin
  • you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • you have severe bone marrow problems, low platelets, or very low white blood cell levels

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: Doctor Avoidance: 5 Reasons Why It's Not a Good Idea

Before using Hycamtin:

Some medical conditions may interact with Hycamtin. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of kidney problems, bone marrow problems, or blood problems
  • if you have a history of lung problems (eg, interstitial lung disease [ILD], pulmonary fibrosis, lung cancer) or if your chest area has been exposed to radiation.
  • if you have recently received a live vaccine

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Hycamtin. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Medicines that may harm the lungs (eg, certain antiarrhythmics, certain antibiotics, amphotericin B, certain cancer drugs) because the risk of serious lung problems may be increased. Ask your doctor if you are unsure if any of your medicines might harm the lungs
  • Carboplatin, cisplatin, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), or other antineoplastic medicines because the risk or duration of severe bone marrow or blood problems may be increased
  • Hydantoins (eg, phenytoin) because they may decrease Hycamtin's effectiveness
  • Live vaccines (eg, measles, mumps) because the risk of their side effects may be increased by Hycamtin

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Hycamtin may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Hycamtin:

Use Hycamtin as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Hycamtin is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic.
  • If Hycamtin accidentally spills on your skin, wash it off immediately with soap and water.
  • If you miss a dose of Hycamtin, contact your doctor right away.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Hycamtin.

Important safety information:

  • Hycamtin may cause tiredness or weakness during treatment and for several days after treatment. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Hycamtin with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Hycamtin may lower the ability of your body to fight infection. Avoid contact with people who have colds or infections. Tell your doctor if you notice signs of infection like fever, sore throat, rash, or chills.
  • Hycamtin may reduce the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your blood. Avoid activities that may cause bruising or injury. Tell your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding. Tell your doctor if you have dark, tarry, or bloody stools.
  • Some patients taking Hycamtin have developed severe and sometimes fatal lung problems. The risk may be greater if you have a history of certain lung problems or if your chest area has been exposed to radiation. It may also be greater if you take certain other medicines. Tell your doctor right away if you develop a cough, fever, shortness of breath, blue or unusually pale skin or nails, or chest pain.
  • If nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite occurs, ask your doctor or pharmacist for ways to lessen these effects.
  • Do not receive a live vaccine (eg, measles, mumps) while you are taking Hycamtin. Talk with your doctor before you receive any vaccine.
  • If you may become pregnant, you must use an effective form of birth control while you take Hycamtin. If you have questions about effective birth control, talk with your doctor.
  • Lab tests, including complete blood cell counts, may be performed while you use Hycamtin. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use Hycamtin with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Hycamtin should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Do not use Hycamtin if you are pregnant. It may cause harm to the fetus. Avoid becoming pregnant while you are taking it. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor right away. It is not known if Hycamtin is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Hycamtin.

Possible side effects of Hycamtin:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Constipation; diarrhea; fatigue; hair loss; loss of appetite; nausea; stomach pain; tiredness; vomiting; weakness.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); blue or unusually pale skin or nails; fever, chills, or persistent sore throat; painful or burning urination; persistent or severe cough; persistent or severe pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site; persistent or severe stomach pain or cramps; persistent or severe tiredness or weakness; shortness of breath; unusual or unexplained bruising or bleeding; yellowing of the eyes or skin.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of Hycamtin:

Hycamtin is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using Hycamtin at home, store Hycamtin as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider. Keep Hycamtin out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Hycamtin, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Hycamtin is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take Hycamtin or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about Hycamtin. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to Hycamtin. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using Hycamtin.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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