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Etoposide (injection)

Generic Name: etoposide (injection) (ee TOE poe side)
Brand Name: Toposar

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on May 17, 2019 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is etoposide?

Etoposide is used to treat cancer of the lung or testicles. It is usually given with other cancer medicines in a combination chemotherapy.

Etoposide may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Etoposide can weaken (suppress) your immune system, and you may get an infection or bleed more easily. Call your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding, or signs of infection (such as fever, sore throat, cough, or trouble breathing).

Before taking this medicine

You should not be treated with etoposide if you are allergic to it.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had kidney disease.

Using etoposide may increase your risk of developing other types of cancer, such as leukemia. Talk with your doctor about your specific risk.

Etoposide can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects if the mother or the father is using etoposide.

  • If you are a woman, do not use etoposide if you are pregnant. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine and for at least 6 months after your last dose.

  • If you are a man, use effective birth control if your sex partner is able to get pregnant. Keep using birth control for at least 4 months after your last dose.

  • Tell your doctor right away if a pregnancy occurs while either the mother or the father is using etoposide.

This medicine may affect fertility (ability to have children) in both men and women. However, it is important to use birth control to prevent pregnancy because etoposide can harm an unborn baby.

You should not breast-feed while you are using etoposide.

How is etoposide given?

Etoposide is given as an infusion into a vein. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Etoposide is usually given as part of a 4-day or 5-day treatment cycle every 3 or 4 weeks. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.

Etoposide can be harmful if it gets on your skin. If skin contact occurs, wash the area with soap and water.

Etoposide can increase your risk of bleeding or infection. You will need frequent medical tests. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your etoposide injection.

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 receiving etoposide?

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using etoposide. The vaccine may not work as well during this time, and may not fully protect you from disease. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), rotavirus, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine.

Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

Avoid activities that may increase your risk of bleeding or injury. Use extra care to prevent bleeding while shaving or brushing your teeth.

etoposide can pass into body fluids (urine, feces, vomit). 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. Caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up a patient's 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.

What are the side effects of etoposide?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • low white blood cell counts--fever, mouth sores, skin sores, sore throat, cough, trouble breathing;

  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding, purple or red spots under your skin;

  • severe ongoing nausea or vomiting;

  • sudden chest pain, wheezing, dry cough, feeling short of breath;

  • upper stomach pain, loss of appetite;

  • vision problems; or

  • a seizure (convulsions).

Common side effects may include:

  • low white blood cell counts.

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.

What other drugs will affect etoposide?

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect etoposide, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Further information

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.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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