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Etoposide Side Effects

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 16, 2023.

Applies to etoposide: oral capsule liquid filled. Other dosage forms:


Oral route (Capsule, Liquid Filled)

Severe myelosuppression with resulting infection or bleeding may occur with etoposide.

Serious side effects of Etoposide

Along with its needed effects, etoposide may cause some unwanted effects. 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 while taking etoposide:

More common

Less common


Incidence not known

Other side effects of Etoposide

Some side effects of etoposide 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:

More common

Incidence not known

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to etoposide: intravenous powder for injection, intravenous solution, oral capsule.


Very common (10% or more): Myelosuppression (sometimes fatal), leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, anemia[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Abdominal pain, constipation, nausea, vomiting, anorexia, mucositis (including stomatitis and esophagitis)

Common (1% to 10%): Diarrhea

Rare (less than 0.1%): Dysphagia, dysgeusia[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Myocardial infarction, arrhythmia, transient systolic hypotension (following rapid IV administration), hypertension

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Cyanosis

Rare (less than 0.1%): Heart failure[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Anaphylaxis (sometimes fatal)[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Alopecia, pigmentation

Common (1% to 10%): Rash, urticaria, pruritus

Rare (less than 0.1%): Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, radiation recall dermatitis, maculopapular rash[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Hepatotoxicity[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Asthenia, malaise

Frequency not reported: Fever[Ref]


Rare (less than 0.1%): Pulmonary fibrosis, interstitial pneumonitis, bronchospasm, dyspnea[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Infectious complications[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Tumor lysis syndrome (sometimes fatal) has been reported following the use of this drug in association with other chemotherapeutic drugs[Ref]

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more: Neurotoxicity (e.g., somnolence, fatigue)

Common (1% to 10%): Dizziness

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Peripheral neuropathy

Rare (less than 0.1%): Seizure (occasionally associated with allergic reactions), optic neuritis, cortical blindness transient, neurotoxicity (e.g., somnolence, fatigue)

Frequency not reported: Aftertaste[Ref]


Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Optic neuritis, transient cortical blindness[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Extravasation (e.g., local soft tissue toxicity, swelling, pain, cellulitis, necrosis including skin necrosis), phlebitis


Common (1% to 10%): Acute leukemia

Frequency not reported: Acute promyelocytic leukemia[Ref]


1. Product Information. Vepesid (etoposide). Bristol-Myers Squibb. 2001;PROD.

2. Cerner Multum, Inc. UK Summary of Product Characteristics.

3. Cerner Multum, Inc. Australian Product Information.

Further information

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

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.