Generic Name: streptozocin (strep-toe-ZOE-sin)
Streptozocin should be administered under the supervision of a physician experienced in the use of cancer chemotherapeutic agents. Renal toxicity from streptozocin is dose-related and cumulative and may be severe or fatal. Other major toxicities are nausea and vomiting which may be severe and at times treatment-limiting. In addition, liver dysfunction, diarrhea, and hematological changes have been observed in some patients. Streptozocin is mutagenic, and when administered parenterally, it has been found to be tumorigenic or carcinogenic in some rodents. The physician must judge the possible benefit to the patient against the known toxic effects of this drug in considering the advisability of therapy with streptozocin. The physician should be familiar with the following text before making a judgment and beginning treatment .
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Sep 23, 2020.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
- Powder for Solution
Therapeutic Class: Antineoplastic Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Alkylating Agent
Chemical Class: Nitrosourea
Uses for streptozocin
Streptozocin belongs to the group of medicines known as alkylating agents. It is used to treat cancer of the pancreas.
Streptozocin seems to interfere with the growth of cancer cells, which are eventually destroyed. It also directly affects the way the pancreas works. Since the growth of normal body cells may also be affected by streptozocin, other effects will also occur. Some of these may be serious and must be reported to your doctor. Other effects may not be serious but may cause concern. Some effects may not occur for months or years after the medicine is used.
Before you begin treatment with streptozocin, you and your doctor should talk about the good streptozocin will do as well as the risks of using it.
Streptozocin is to be given only by or under the immediate supervision of your doctor.
Before using streptozocin
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 streptozocin, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to streptozocin 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.
There is no specific information comparing use of streptozocin in children with use in other age groups.
Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of streptozocin in the elderly with use in other age groups.
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.
Interactions with medicines
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. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
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 streptozocin. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Chickenpox (including recent exposure) or
- Herpes zoster (shingles)—Risk of severe disease affecting other parts of the body
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus—May be worsened
- Infection—Streptozocin can decrease your body's ability to fight infection
- Kidney disease or
- Liver disease—Effects of streptozocin may be increased because of slower removal from the body
Proper use of streptozocin
While you are receiving streptozocin, your doctor may want you to drink extra fluids so that you will pass more urine. This will help prevent kidney problems and keep your kidneys working well.
Streptozocin usually causes nausea and vomiting, which may be severe. However, it is very important that you continue to receive the medicine, even if you begin to feel ill. Ask your health care professional for ways to lessen these effects.
The dose of streptozocin 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 streptozocin. 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.
Precautions while using streptozocin
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that streptozocin is working properly and to check for any unwanted effects.
While you are being treated with streptozocin, and after you stop treatment with it, do not have any immunizations (vaccinations) without your doctor's approval. Streptozocin may lower your body's resistance and there is a chance you might get the infection the immunization is meant to prevent. In addition, other people living in your household should not take oral polio vaccine since there is a chance they could pass the polio virus on to you. Also, avoid persons who have recently taken oral polio vaccine. Do not get close to them and do not stay in the same room with them for very long. If you cannot take these precautions, you should consider wearing a protective face mask that covers the nose and mouth.
If streptozocin accidentally seeps out of the vein into which it is injected, it may damage some tissues and cause scarring. Tell the health care professional right away if you notice redness, pain, or swelling at the place of injection.
Streptozocin side effects
Along with their needed effects, medicines like streptozocin can sometimes cause unwanted effects such as kidney problems and other side effects. These and others are described below. Also, because of the way these medicines act on the body, there is a chance that they might cause other unwanted effects that may not occur until months or years after the medicine is used. These delayed effects may include certain types of cancer, such as leukemia. Streptozocin has been shown to cause tumors (some cancerous) in animals. Discuss these possible effects with your doctor.
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:
- Anxiety, nervousness, or shakiness
- chills, cold sweats, or cool, pale skin
- drowsiness or unusual tiredness or weakness
- fast pulse
- pain or redness at place of injection
- unusual hunger
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Black, tarry stools
- blood in urine or stools
- cough or hoarseness
- fever or chills
- lower back or side pain
- painful or difficult urination
- pinpoint red spots on skin
- unusual bleeding or bruising
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- Swelling of feet or lower legs
- unusual decrease in urination
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:
- Nausea and vomiting (usually occurs within 2 to 4 hours after receiving dose and may be severe)
After you stop using streptozocin, it may still produce some side effects that need attention. During this period of time, check with your doctor immediately if you notice the following side effects:
- Decrease in urination
- swelling of feet or lower legs
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.
More about streptozocin
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- En Español
- Drug class: alkylating agents
- Other brands
Related treatment guides
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