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Zanosar Side Effects

Generic name: streptozocin

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 1, 2022.

Note: This document contains side effect information about streptozocin. Some dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Zanosar.

Applies to streptozocin: intravenous powder for solution.


Intravenous route (Powder for Solution)

Streptozocin should be administered under the supervision of a physician experienced in the use of cancer chemotherapeutic agents. Renal toxicity from streptozocin is dose-related and cumulative and may be severe or fatal. Other major toxicities are nausea and vomiting which may be severe and at times treatment-limiting. In addition, liver dysfunction, diarrhea, and hematological changes have been observed in some patients. Streptozocin is mutagenic, and when administered parenterally, it has been found to be tumorigenic or carcinogenic in some rodents. The physician must judge the possible benefit to the patient against the known toxic effects of this drug in considering the advisability of therapy with streptozocin. The physician should be familiar with the following text before making a judgment and beginning treatment.

Along with their needed effects, medicines like streptozocin (the active ingredient contained in Zanosar) can sometimes cause unwanted effects such as kidney problems and other side effects. These and others are described below. Also, because of the way these medicines act on the body, there is a chance that they might cause other unwanted effects that may not occur until months or years after the medicine is used. These delayed effects may include certain types of cancer, such as leukemia. Streptozocin has been shown to cause tumors (some cancerous) in animals. Discuss these possible effects with your doctor.

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 streptozocin:

Less common

  • Anxiety, nervousness, or shakiness
  • chills, cold sweats, or cool, pale skin
  • drowsiness or unusual tiredness or weakness
  • fast pulse
  • headache
  • pain or redness at place of injection
  • unusual hunger

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking streptozocin:


  • Black, tarry stools
  • blood in urine or stools
  • cough or hoarseness
  • fever or chills
  • lower back or side pain
  • painful or difficult urination
  • pinpoint red spots on skin
  • unusual bleeding or bruising

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur while taking streptozocin:

More common

  • Swelling of feet or lower legs
  • unusual decrease in urination

Other side effects of Zanosar

Some side effects of streptozocin 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

  • Nausea and vomiting (usually occurs within 2 to 4 hours after receiving dose and may be severe)

Less common

  • Diarrhea

After you stop using this medicine, it may still produce some side effects that need attention. During this period of time, Check with your doctor immediately if you notice the following side effects:

More common

  • Decrease in urination
  • swelling of feet or lower legs

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to streptozocin: intravenous powder for injection.


Frequency not reported: Renal toxicity (azotemia, anuria, hypophosphatemia, glycosuria, renal tubular acidosis), nephrogenic diabetes insipidus[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Hepatic toxicity (elevated SGOT and LDH levels, hypoalbuminemia)[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea[Ref]


Rare (less than 0.1%): Hematologic toxicity (decreased hematocrit values, reduced leukocyte and platelet count)[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Glucose tolerance abnormalities, insulin shock, hypoglycemia[Ref]


Postmarketing reports: Local inflammation[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Confusion, lethargy, depression[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Zanosar (streptozocin)." Pharmacia and Upjohn (2001):

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.