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All about: Hycamtin

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Generic Name: Topotecan (TOE-poe-TEE-kan)
Brand Name: Hycamtin

Hycamtin may cause severe and sometimes fatal bone marrow suppression and blood problems. These blood problems may increase the risk of developing a severe infection. Hycamtin should not be used in patients who have very low white blood cell levels. Contact your doctor at once if you have symptoms of an infection (eg, fever, chills, persistent sore throat, painful urination), unusual bruising or bleeding, or unusual fatigue. Frequent blood tests will be performed to monitor for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.


Hycamtin is used for:

Treating certain types of ovarian or lung cancer that do not respond well to other types of cancer treatment. It may be used to treat certain types of cervical cancer that cannot be treated by surgery or radiation therapy. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Hycamtin is an antineoplastic. It works by killing certain cancer cells.

Do NOT use Hycamtin if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Hycamtin
  • you are pregnant or breast-feeding
  • you have severe bone marrow depression or very low white blood cell levels

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Hycamtin :

Some medical conditions may interact with Hycamtin . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are planning to become pregnant
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of kidney problems, bone marrow problems, or blood problems
  • if you have recently received a live vaccine

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Hycamtin . Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Cisplatin, granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), or other antineoplastic medicines because the risk or duration of severe bone marrow or blood problems may be increased
  • Hydantoins (eg, phenytoin) because they may decrease Hycamtin 's effectiveness

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Hycamtin may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Hycamtin :

Use Hycamtin as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Hycamtin is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic.
  • If Hycamtin accidentally spills on your skin, wash it off immediately with soap and water.
  • If you miss a dose of Hycamtin , contact your doctor immediately.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Hycamtin .

Important safety information:

  • Hycamtin may cause tiredness or weakness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Hycamtin with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Hycamtin may lower the ability of your body to fight infection. Avoid contact with people who have colds or infections. Tell your doctor if you notice signs of infection like fever, sore throat, rash, or chills.
  • Hycamtin may reduce the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your blood. Avoid activities that may cause bruising or injury. Tell your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding. Tell your doctor if you have dark, tarry, or bloody stools.
  • If nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite occurs, ask your doctor or pharmacist for ways to lessen these effects.
  • Do not receive a live vaccines (eg, measles, mumps) while you are taking Hycamtin . Talk with your doctor before you receive any vaccine.
  • Lab tests, including complete blood cell counts, may be performed while you use Hycamtin . These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use Hycamtin with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Hycamtin should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Do not use Hycamtin if you are pregnant. It may cause harm to the fetus. Avoid becoming pregnant while you are taking it. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor right away. It is not known if Hycamtin is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Hycamtin .

Possible side effects of Hycamtin :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Back or bone pain; constipation; cough; diarrhea; fatigue; hair loss; headache; loss of appetite; mild numbness or tingling of the skin, hands, or feet; nausea; pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site; stomach pain; tiredness; weakness; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chest pain; fever, chills, or sore throat; painful urination; persistent or severe cough; persistent or severe pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site; persistent or severe tiredness or weakness; shortness of breath; swelling or soreness of the mouth or tongue; unusual or unexplained bruising or bleeding; yellowing of the eyes or skin.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of Hycamtin :

Hycamtin is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using Hycamtin at home, store Hycamtin as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider. Keep Hycamtin out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Hycamtin , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Hycamtin is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Hycamtin . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition 07.3.1.003
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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