Dactinomycin is used on its own or together with other medicines to treat cancer of the bone, muscles, kidney, uterus (womb), and testicles.
Dactinomycin is to be given intravenously (into the vein) by infusion. It is delivered directly into the bloodstream via the blood vessel.
Your doctor or nurse will administer the injection for you.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the dosage and course of the treatment depending on your condition and response to the medication.
Ensure that you keep all appointments with your doctor so that you do not miss any doses. Your doctor also needs to regularly monitor your response to Dactinomycin.
If you miss an appointment or miss an injection, alert your doctor or nurse. A replacement appointment or injection should be given as soon as possible.
Alert your doctor if you have current or previous infection with herpes zoster (shingles) or chicken pox as Dactinomycin may not be suitable for you.
Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with this medicine.
your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- bone marrow disease
- had been or currently receiving radiation therapy
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant.
If you become pregnant while being treated with this medicine, alert your doctor immediately. Dactinomycin may cause harm to your unborn child. You must use proven birth control methods. You may wish to discuss birth control methods with your doctor or pharmacist.
Inform your doctor if you have been recently vaccinated. Do not receive any vaccinations without first asking your doctor.
If you are going for an operation, including minor surgery and dental work, inform your doctor or dentist that you are on Dactinomycin treatment.
Keep your appointments with your doctor. You will need to have regular blood tests to check your blood counts as well as your liver and kidney function. Your doctor will advise you on how often you will need to have these tests.
This medication may cause any of the following side effects: tiredness, hair loss, stomach pain, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, mouth sore or irritation, difficulty in swallowing, and muscle pain.
This medicine will cause the level of your red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets to drop.
Red blood cells carry oxygen around your body. A fall in the level of red blood cells may make you feel tired and worn out.
White blood cells help your body to fight infections. A fall in the level of your white blood cells may put you at higher risk for infections, such as coughs, colds and flu, which may lead to more serious infections. Avoid crowded places and people who are sick. Alert your doctor if you have a fever, or a cough or flu that does not go away.
Platelets help your blood to clot when there is a cut in the skin. A fall in the level of your platelets may put you at risk of bleeding more than usual. Do not take part in activities where you may fall or get injured, such as contact sports. Alert your doctor if you get any unusual bruising (large bruises or several bruises, especially if the bruises appeared on their own) or bleeding that takes a long time to stop (for example, too much bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth).
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor immediately if you experience:
- signs of liver problems e.g. dark coloured urine, yellowing of the skin or eyes, feeling tired, stomach pain or throwing up
- signs of an allergic reaction e.g. rashes, breathlessness, swelling of the face, eyes or mouth
- rashes with skin peeling or blisters / rashes with peeling of the skin or blistering of the lips, mouth or eyes accompanied by fever
Inform your doctor if any of
these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other
your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- other medicines to treat cancer
- live vaccines
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Dactinomycin.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Protect from light. Light may cause the medication to lose some of its effectiveness.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.
As this is a cancer medicine, any unused or expired vials should be handed to the clinic, hospital or pharmacy for disposal. Do not throw it away in the household waste.