Etoposide is used together with other medicines to treat cancers of the lung (small cell lung cancer), blood, lymph gland, testes or ovary.
Etoposide injection is to be given intravenously (into the vein). 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 Etoposide.
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 the following conditions:
- severe liver disease
- blood disorder e.g. low blood cell or platelet count
as Etoposide may not be suitable for you.
Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant or planning to have a baby soon. If you become pregnant while being treated with this medicine, alert your doctor immediately. Etoposide may cause harm to your unborn child.
Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with Etoposide.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- low levels of protein (albumin) in your blood
It is important that you do not get pregnant or father a child while you are being treated with Etoposide. You and your partner must use proven birth control methods during the treatment and for at least 6 months after stopping the treatment. 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 Etoposide treatment.
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
To know if this medicine is suited for you, a pregnancy test may be done before treatment initiation.
Your blood pressure must be checked regularly as it may reach to unsafe levels. Your doctor may also need to do blood tests, liver and kidney function tests. Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have these tests.
Etoposide may cause any of the following side effects: hair loss, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhoea, mouth sore or irritation, loss of appetite and constipation.
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).
If you develop rashes, breathlessness, swollen mouth or eyes, inform your doctor quickly. These could be signs of an allergic reaction.
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Do not use Etoposide with live vaccines e.g. BCG vaccine, yellow fever vaccine.
Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- other medicines for cancer e.g. cisplatin
- medicines for epilepsy (fits or seizures) e.g. phenytoin
- blood-thinning medicines e.g. warfarin
- medicines used in organ transplant or certain immune disorders e.g. ciclosporin
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Etoposide.
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.
Do not use this medicine if it becomes cloudy or if it has changed in colour. Do not refrigerate or freeze. Protect from light.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.