Topotecan (By mouth)
Treats small cell lung cancer.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
How to Use This Medicine
- Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
- Take your medicine as directed.
- Swallow the capsule whole with water. Do not open, crush, break, or chew it.
- You may also receive medicines to help prevent nausea and vomiting.
- Do not touch broken or leaking capsules with your bare hands. If you get the contents from the capsule on your skin, wash the area with soap and water and call your doctor right away. If the medicine gets in your eyes, rinse them immediately with gently flowing water for at least 15 minutes and call your doctor right away.
- Read and follow the patient instructions that come with this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
If a dose is missed:
- Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
- If you vomit after taking your medicine, call your doctor or pharmacist for instructions.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- Store the medicine in the refrigerator and do not allow it to freeze. Protect the bottle of capsules from light.
- Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
- Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you also use cyclosporine (Gengraf®, Neoral®, or Sandimmune®), elacridar, ketoconazole (Nizoral®), ritonavir (Norvir®), or saquinavir (Fortovase® or Invirase®).
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- It is not safe to take this medicine during pregnancy. It could harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are breastfeeding or if you have kidney disease, blood or bone marrow problems, any type of infection, or a history of lung disease.
- This medicine may make you bleed, bruise, or get infections more easily. Take precautions to prevent illness and injury. Avoid people who are ill, and wash your hands often. Brush and floss your teeth gently, do not play rough sports, and be careful with sharp objects.
- This medicine can cause diarrhea. Call your doctor if the diarrhea becomes severe, does not stop, or is bloody. Do not take any medicine to stop diarrhea until you have talked to your doctor. Diarrhea can occur 2 months or more after you stop taking this medicine.
- Check with your doctor right away if you have trouble breathing, cough, fever, or wheezing. These could be symptoms of a serious lung problem.
- Cancer medicines can cause nausea and/or vomiting in most people, sometimes even after receiving medicines to prevent it. Ask your doctor or nurse about other ways to control these side effects.
- This medicine may make you weak or tired. Do not drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you.
- Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
- Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches
- Severe diarrhea
- Trouble breathing
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Unusual tiredness or weakness
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Hair loss or thinning of the hair
- Mild diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
- Last reviewed on 8/4/2014
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