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Drugs & Medications

etoposide

COMMON BRAND NAME(S):

GENERIC NAME(S): ETOPOSIDE

WARNINGS:

This medication may cause certain severe blood and bone marrow problems (low red blood cells/white blood cells/platelets). This can affect your body's ability to stop bleeding or fight infection. Tell your doctor immediately if you develop unusual tiredness, signs of infection (such as fever, chills, persistent sore throat), or easy bruising/bleeding (such as black stools, bloody vomit).

Who should not take etoposide?
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Uses

Etoposide is used alone or in combination with other medications to treat certain forms of lung cancer (such as small cell lung cancer). Etoposide works by slowing the growth of cancer cells.

OTHER USES: This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.

This medication may also be used for certain types of leukemias and lymphomas, ovarian cancer, testicular cancer, and a certain type of prostate cancer.

How to use etoposide

Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.

Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often or for longer than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and your risk of side effects will increase.

Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while using this medication unless your doctor or pharmacist says you may do so safely. Grapefruit can affect the removal of etoposide from your body, which may affect how etoposide works. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs and may harm an unborn baby, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from the capsules.

Side Effects

See also Warning section.

Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or diarrhea may occur. Nausea and vomiting can be severe. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Eating several small meals, not eating before treatment, or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Temporary hair loss may occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.

Pain or sores in the mouth and throat may occur. Brush your teeth carefully/gently, avoid using mouthwash that contains alcohol, and rinse your mouth frequently with cool water mixed with baking soda or salt. It may also be best to eat soft, moist foods.

Many people using this medication have serious side effects. However, your doctor has prescribed this drug because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Careful monitoring by your doctor may decrease your risk.

This medication may lower your ability to fight infections. This may make you more likely to get a serious (rarely fatal) infection or make any infection you have worse. Tell your doctor right away if you have any signs of infection (such as fever, chills, persistent sore throat, cough).

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: numbness/tingling of arms/legs, sudden vision changes, eye pain, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine, painful/difficult swallowing.

Although etoposide may be used to treat certain leukemias, it may rarely cause acute leukemia. Ask your doctor for more details.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing, fast heartbeat, seizures.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Precautions

Before taking etoposide, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney disease, liver disease, blood problems (such as low red blood cells/white blood cells/platelets).

Etoposide can make you more likely to get infections or may worsen any current infections. Therefore, wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infection. Avoid contact with people who have infections that may spread to others (such as chickenpox, measles, flu). Consult your doctor if you have been exposed to an infection or for more details.

Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor. Avoid contact with people who have recently received live vaccines (such as flu vaccine inhaled through the nose).

To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.

Daily use of alcohol while using this medicine may increase your risk for stomach bleeding. Limit alcoholic beverages. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products.)

Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially drowsiness, weakness, mouth/throat sores, loss of appetite, low white blood cells, and loss of too much body water (dehydration).

Etoposide is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It may harm an unborn baby. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor immediately. Discuss the use of reliable forms of birth control (such as condoms, birth control pills) with your doctor.

Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs and may harm an unborn baby, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from the capsules.

This medication passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using etoposide is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Interactions

See also How to Use section.

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

Overdose

If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.

Notes

Do not share this medication with others.

Laboratory tests (such as complete blood cell counts, kidney function, liver function) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress and check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.

Missed Dose

For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of etoposide as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist immediately to establish a new dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

Storage

Different brands of this medication have different storage needs. Check the product package for instructions on how to store your brand, or ask your pharmacist. Keep all medications away from children and pets.

Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.

MEDICAL ALERT: Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).

Information last revised January 2015. Copyright(c) 2015 First Databank, Inc.

Images

ETOPOSIDE 50 MG CAPSULE
ETOPOSIDE 50 MG CAPSULE
View Larger Picture
color
dark pink
shape
oblong
imprint
E50
ETOPOSIDE 50 MG CAPSULE
ETOPOSIDE 50 MG CAPSULE

Identification

color
dark pink
shape
oblong
imprint
E50
This medicine is a dark pink, oblong capsule imprinted with "E50".

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Selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by First Databank, Inc. This copyrighted material has been downloaded from a licensed data provider and is not for distribution, expect as may be authorized by the applicable terms of use.

CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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