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Etoposide phosphate

Generic Name: etoposide phosphate (e TOE poe side FOS fate)
Brand Name: Etopophos

Medically reviewed on March 15, 2017

What is etoposide phosphate?

Etoposide phosphate is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their growth and spread in the body.

Etoposide phosphate is used to treat cancer of the lung or testicles.

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

Important Information

Your blood will need to be tested often. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.

While being treated with etoposide phosphate, use birth control to prevent pregnancy, whether you are a man or a woman. Tell your doctor right away if a pregnancy occurs while either parent is using etoposide phosphate.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to etoposide.

To make sure etoposide phosphate is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • kidney disease;

  • a weak immune system (from disease or from taking certain medicines); or

  • a condition for which you take warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven).

Using etoposide phosphate during pregnancy could harm the unborn baby. Use birth control to prevent pregnancy, whether you are a man or a woman. Etoposide phosphate use by either parent may cause birth defects.

For women: Use effective birth control while you are using etoposide phosphate and for at least 6 months after your last dose.

For men: Use a condom to prevent pregnancy during your treatment. Continue using condoms for at least 4 months after you stop using etoposide phosphate.

Tell your doctor right away if a pregnancy occurs while either parent is using etoposide phosphate.

etoposide phosphate may affect fertility (your ability to have children), whether you are a man or a woman.

It is not known whether etoposide phosphate passes into breast milk or if it could affect the nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are being treated with etoposide phosphate.

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

How is etoposide phosphate given?

Etoposide phosphate is injected into a vein through an IV. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Etoposide phosphate is usually given for 4 or 5 days in a row every 3 to 4 weeks. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when etoposide phosphate is injected.

Etoposide phosphate can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. Your blood will need to be tested often. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your etoposide phosphate 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 phosphate?

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

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using etoposide phosphate, or you could develop a serious infection. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), polio, rotavirus, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine.

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

etoposide phosphate 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.

Etoposide phosphate side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: fever, chills, sweating, fast heartbeats, fainting; hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • pain, burning, irritation, or skin changes where the injection was given;

  • severe nausea and vomiting;

  • low blood cell counts--fever, chills, flu-like symptoms, swollen gums, mouth sores, skin sores, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, feeling light-headed; or

  • severe skin reaction--fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Common side effects may include:

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)

Etoposide phosphate dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Testicular Cancer:

50 to 100 mg/m2 IV once a day over 5 minutes to 3.5 hours on days 1 through 5 of each 21-day (or 28-day cycle)
OR
100 mg/m2 IV once a day over 5 minutes to 3.5 hours on days 1, 3, and 5 of each 21-day (or 28-day cycle)

Use: For treatment of patients with refractory testicular tumors (in combination with other chemotherapeutic drugs)

Usual Adult Dose for Small Cell Lung Cancer:

35 to 50 mg/m2 IV once a day over 5 minutes to 3.5 hours for 4 days
OR
50 mg/m2 IV once a day over 5 minutes to 3.5 hours for 5 days

Use: For first-line treatment of patients with small cell lung cancer (in combination with cisplatin)

What other drugs will affect etoposide phosphate?

Other drugs may interact with etoposide phosphate, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

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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