Generic Name: topotecan (TOE poe TEE kan)
Brand Name: Hycamtin
What is Hycamtin (topotecan)?
Topotecan is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.
Topotecan is used to treat ovarian cancer, small cell lung cancer, and certain types of cervical cancer.
Topotecan may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about Hycamtin (topotecan)?
You should not use topotecan if you have severe bone marrow depression.
Topotecan can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. You may get an infection or bleed more easily. Call your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding, or signs of infection (fever, chills, body aches).
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using Hycamtin (topotecan)?
You should not use topotecan if you have severe bone marrow depression.
To make sure you can safely use topotecan, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
lung disease or lung cancer; or
if you have had a chest x-ray or radiation treatment of your chest area.
FDA pregnancy category D. Do not use topotecan if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.
It is not known whether topotecan passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using topotecan.
How should I use Hycamtin (topotecan)?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Topotecan is usually given once daily for 5 days in a row. This treatment is then repeated every 21 days, usually for at least 4 treatments. It may take several weeks for your body to respond to the medication.
Topotecan capsules are taken by mouth. You may need to take two different colored capsules at one time. Make sure you know the difference between capsules because one contains 4 times as much topotecan as the other, even though they may look the same in size.
Take the topotecan capsule with a full glass (8 ounces) of water. You may take the medicine with or without food.
If you vomit after taking a topotecan capsule, do not take another dose that same day. Call your doctor for instructions.
Do not crush or break a topotecan capsule, or use a capsule that has been accidentally broken. The medicine from a broken capsule can be dangerous if it gets in your eyes or on your skin. If this occurs, wash your skin with soap and water or rinse the eyes for at least 15 minutes with plain water. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how to safely handle and dispose of a broken tablet or capsule.
Store topotecan capsules in the refrigerator and protect them from light.
Topotecan injection is injected into a vein through an IV. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. Topotecan must be given slowly, and the IV infusion can take up to 30 minutes to complete.
Tell your doctor right away if any of this medicine gets on your skin during the injection. If this does happen, the exposed skin should be rinsed thoroughly with soap and warm water.
Topotecan can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. Your blood may need to be tested often.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Call your doctor for instructions if you miss any of your topotecan doses.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while using Hycamtin (topotecan)?
Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.
This medicine can pass into body fluids (including urine, feces, vomit, semen, vaginal fluid). For at least 48 hours after you receive a dose, avoid allowing your body fluids to come into contact with your hands or other surfaces. Patients and caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.
Body fluids should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or who may become pregnant. Use condoms during sexual activity to avoid exposure to body fluids.
Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using topotecan, and avoid coming into contact with anyone who has recently received a live vaccine. There is a chance that the virus could be passed on to you. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), rotavirus, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine.
Topotecan may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.
Hycamtin (topotecan) side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
wheezing, feeling short of breath, chest pain, dry cough;
fever, chills, flu symptoms, mouth and throat ulcers, rapid and shallow breathing, fainting;
pale skin, feeling light-headed, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating;
easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
diarrhea with fever and stomach cramps;
pain or burning when you urinate; or
skin changes or severe irritation where the needle is placed.
Common side effects may include:
nausea, diarrhea, vomiting;
tired feeling; or
temporary hair loss.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Hycamtin (topotecan)?
Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with topotecan, especially:
filgrastim, pegfilgrastim, or sargramostim; or
cisplatin, carboplatin or oxaliplatin.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with topotecan, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
More about Hycamtin (topotecan)
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about topotecan.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
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