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Hycamtin

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

Medically reviewed on September 28, 2017

What is Hycamtin?

Hycamtin is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Hycamtin is used to treat ovarian cancer, small cell lung cancer, and certain types of cervical cancer. Hycamtin is sometimes given after other treatments have failed.

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

Important Information

Hycamtin can weaken 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 (fever, chills, cough, diarrhea, stomach cramps, pain or burning when you urinate).

You should not use Hycamtin if you are pregnant. Avoid getting pregnant for at least 1 month after you stop using this medicine.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Hycamtin if you are allergic to it.

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

  • kidney disease;

  • lung disease or lung cancer; or

  • if you have had a chest X-ray or radiation treatment of your chest area.

Do not use Hycamtin if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using Hycamtin and for at least 1 month after your last dose.

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 Hycamtin may harm the baby if a pregnancy does occur.

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?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Hycamtin 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 this medicine as the other, even though they may look the same in size.

Take the capsules with a full glass (8 ounces) of water. You may take the medicine with or without food.

If you vomit after taking a Hycamtin capsule, do not take another dose that same day.

Do not crush or break a Hycamtin 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 Hycamtin capsules in the refrigerator and protect them from light.

Hycamtin injection is given into a vein through an IV. A healthcare provider will give you this injection once daily for 3 to 5 days in a row. This treatment is then repeated every 21 days. Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when this medicine is injected.

Also tell your doctor right away if any of this medicine gets on your skin during the injection. Exposed skin should be rinsed thoroughly with soap and warm water.

Hycamtin 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.

Your doctor will determine how long to treat you with Hycamtin capsules or injection.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss any of your Hycamtin 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?

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

Hycamtin can pass into body fluids (urine, feces, vomit). 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.

Hycamtin side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • new or worsening cough, fever, trouble breathing;

  • diarrhea with fever and stomach cramps;

  • pain or burning when you urinate; or

  • low blood cell counts--fever, chills, flu-like symptoms, mouth sores, skin sores, pale skin, cold hands and feet, bruising or bleeding, feeling light-headed.

Your cancer treatments may be delayed or permanently discontinued if you have certain side effects.

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)

What other drugs will affect Hycamtin?

You should not receive a "colony stimulating factor" medicine within 24 hours after your last dose of topotecan. This includes:

Other drugs may interact with topotecan, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines 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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