Topotecan

Pediatric Medication

This information from Lexicomp® explains what you need to know about this medication, including what it’s used for, how to take it, its side effects, and when to call your healthcare provider.

Brand Names: US

Hycamtin

Brand Names: Canada

ACT Topotecan; Hycamtin [DSC]; PMS-Topotecan

Warning

  • This drug may lower the ability of the bone marrow to make blood cells that the body needs. This can lead to needing a blood transfusion and very bad and sometimes deadly bleeding problems or infections. Tell the doctor right away if your child has signs of infection like fever, chills, or sore throat; any bruising or bleeding; or if your child feels very tired or weak.
  • Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used to treat cancer.

What do I need to tell the doctor BEFORE my child takes this drug?

  • If your child has an allergy to this drug or any part of this drug.
  • If your child is allergic to any drugs like this one or any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell the doctor about the allergy and what signs your child had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If your child has any of these health problems: Low white blood cell count, low platelet count, or low red blood cell count.
  • If your child takes any other drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins). There are many drugs that interact with this drug.

If your child is breast-feeding a baby:

  • Be sure your child does not breast-feed a baby while taking this drug and for 1 week after the last dose.

This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.

Tell the doctor and pharmacist about all of your child’s drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for your child to take this drug with all of his/her drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug your child takes without checking with the doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while my child takes this drug?

  • Tell all of your child’s health care providers that your child is taking this drug. This includes your child’s doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • Have your child avoid tasks or actions that call for alertness until you see how this drug affects your child. These are things like riding a bike, playing sports, or using items such as scissors, lawnmowers, electric scooters, toy cars, or motorized vehicles.
  • Your child may have more chance of getting infections. Have your child wash hands often. Avoid crowds and people with infections, colds, or flu.
  • Your child may bleed more easily. Make sure your child is careful and avoids injury. Be sure your child has a soft toothbrush.
  • The oral form of this drug can cause very bad diarrhea. Sometimes, this may be life-threatening and may need to be treated in the hospital. Talk with the doctor.
  • If your child has diarrhea, talk with your child’s doctor. Do not try to treat diarrhea without first checking with the doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before your child gets any vaccines. Use of some vaccines with this drug may either raise the chance of very bad infection or make the vaccine not work as well.
  • This drug may affect fertility. Fertility problems may lead to not being able to get pregnant or father a child. Talk with the doctor.
  • If your child is of childbearing age, a pregnancy test will need to be done before starting this drug to make sure she is not pregnant.

If your child is or may be sexually active:

  • This drug may cause harm to the unborn baby if your child takes it during pregnancy.
  • Have your child use birth control while taking this drug and for some time after the last dose. Ask the doctor how long your child must use birth control. If your child becomes pregnant, call the doctor right away.
  • Males with a partner who may get pregnant must use birth control while taking this drug and for some time after the last dose. Ask your child’s doctor how long to use birth control. If your child’s partner gets pregnant, call the doctor right away.

What are some side effects that I need to call my child’s doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your child’s doctor or get medical help right away if your child has any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

All products:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
  • Signs of bleeding like throwing up or coughing up blood; vomit that looks like coffee grounds; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; abnormal vaginal bleeding; bruises without a cause or that get bigger; or bleeding you cannot stop.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • Severe diarrhea or diarrhea with stomach cramps, upset stomach, throwing up, fever, or fluid loss.
  • Some people have had lung problems with this drug. Sometimes, this has been deadly. Call your child’s doctor right away if your child has signs of lung problems like shortness of breath or other trouble breathing, cough that is new or worse, or fever.
  • This drug can cause a severe bowel problem (neutropenic enterocolitis). This problem can be deadly, sometimes as early as the first day signs happen. Call your child’s doctor right away if your child has stomach pain with or without a fever, tender stomach, or diarrhea.

Injection:

  • This drug may cause tissue damage if the drug leaks from the vein. Tell your child’s nurse if your child has any redness, burning, pain, swelling, blisters, skin sores, or leaking of fluid where the drug is going into your child’s body.

What are some other side effects of this drug?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your child’s doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother your child or do not go away:

  • Feeling tired or weak.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Hair loss.
  • Not hungry.
  • Mouth irritation or mouth sores.
  • Constipation, diarrhea, throwing up, and upset stomach are common with this drug. If these happen, talk with your child’s doctor about ways to lower these side effects. Call your child’s doctor right away if any of these effects bother your child, do not go away, or are severe.

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your child’s doctor. Call your child’s doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to your national health agency.

How is this drug best given?

Give this drug as ordered by your child’s doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

Capsules:

  • You will need to take special care when handling this drug. Check with the doctor or pharmacist to see how to handle this drug.
  • Give this drug with or without food.
  • Have your child swallow whole. Do not let your child chew, open, or crush.
  • The dose your child gets may be made up of 2 or more different strengths and colors of capsules.
  • If your child throws up after taking this drug, do not repeat the dose.
  • If the capsule is opened or broken, do not touch the contents. If the contents are touched or they get in the eyes, wash hands or eyes right away.

Injection:

  • It is given as an infusion into a vein over a period of time.

What do I do if my child misses a dose?

Capsules:

  • Skip the missed dose and go back to your child’s normal time.
  • Do not give 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.

Injection:

  • Call your doctor to find out what to do.

How do I store and/or throw out this drug?

Capsules:

  • Store capsules in original container in a refrigerator.
  • Do not freeze.
  • Protect from light.

Injection:

  • If you need to store this drug at home, talk with your child’s doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about how to store it.

All products:

  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.

General drug facts

  • If your child’s symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your child’s doctor.
  • Do not share your child’s drug with others and do not give anyone else’s drug to your child.
  • Keep a list of all your child’s drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your child’s doctor.
  • Talk with your child’s doctor before giving your child any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your child’s doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Last Reviewed Date

2019-08-13

Copyright

© 2019 Wolters Kluwer Clinical Drug Information, Inc. and its affiliates and/or licensors. All rights reserved.

Last Updated