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Temozolomide

Generic Name: temozolomide (TEM oh ZOE loe mide)
Brand Name: Temodar

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Aug 31, 2020 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is temozolomide?

Temozolomide is used together with radiation therapy to treat certain types of brain tumor in adults.

Temozolomide is usually given after other treatments have failed.

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

Important Information

Call your doctor if you have fever, chills, tiredness, mouth sores, skin sores, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, pale skin, cold hands and feet, feeling light-headed or short of breath.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use temozolomide if you are allergic to it, or to dacarbazine.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

Using temozolomide may increase your risk of developing certain types of bone marrow cancer. Ask your doctor about your specific risk.

You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before starting this treatment.

Temozolomide can harm an unborn baby if the mother or the father is using temozolomide.

  • If you are a woman, do not use temozolomide 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 3 months after your last dose.

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

This medicine may affect fertility (ability to have children) in men. Talk to your doctor about your own risk.

Do not breastfeed while using this medicine, and for at least 1 week after your last dose.

How should I take temozolomide?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Temozolomide is given in a 28-day treatment cycle, and you may only need to take the medicine during the first few days of each cycle.

If you are also receiving radiation treatment, you may need to take temozolomide for 6 to 7 weeks in a row during your first treatment cycle. Then you may be switched to a 28-day maintenance treatment cycle.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. The size, color, and number of temozolomide capsules you take may sometimes be different from earlier treatment cycles. Be sure you know the correct number of capsules to take and on which days to take them. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

Temozolomide doses are based on body surface area (height and weight). Your dose needs may change if you gain or lose weight or if you are still growing.

Take all of your capsules for the day (one entire daily dose) at the same time on each dosing day of a treatment cycle. Swallow the capsules whole with a full glass of water.

Take this medicine at the same time each day.

Swallow the capsule whole and do not crush, chew, break, or open it.

You may take temozolomide with or without food, but take it the same way each time.

Your doctor will determine how long to treat you with temozolomide. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.

You may need to take temozolomide at bedtime or on an empty stomach if the medicine upsets your stomach.

If you vomit shortly after taking the medicine, do not take another capsule until your next regularly scheduled dose.

Do not use an open capsule. The medicine from a broken pill can be dangerous if it gets in your mouth, eyes, or nose, or on your skin. If this happens, wash your skin with soap and water or rinse your eyes with water. Ask your pharmacist how to safely dispose of a broken pill.

You may be given medication to prevent nausea or other side effects while you are receiving temozolomide.

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

Your liver function may also need to be checked during treatment and for 2 to 4 weeks after you stop using this medicine.

Store temozolomide at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose of temozolomide.

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 taking temozolomide?

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

Men should not donate semen while using temozolomide and for at least 90 days after the last dose.

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

Temozolomide side effects

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

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • a seizure (convulsions);

  • sudden chest pain or discomfort, wheezing, dry cough;

  • low blood cell counts--fever, chills, mouth sores, skin sores, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, pale skin, cold hands and feet, feeling light-headed or short of breath; or

  • liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tiredness, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

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.

What other drugs will affect temozolomide?

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:

  • drugs that weaken the immune system such as cancer medicine, steroids, and medicines to prevent organ transplant rejection; or

  • valproic acid (Depakene, Stavzor).

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect temozolomide, 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.