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Irinotecan injection

What is this medicine?

IRINOTECAN (ir in oh TEE kan ) is a chemotherapy drug. It is used to treat colon and rectal cancer.

How should I use this medicine?

This drug is given as an infusion into a vein. It is administered in a hospital or clinic by a specially trained health care professional.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue

  • chest pain

  • diarrhea

  • flushing, runny nose, sweating during infusion

  • low blood counts - this medicine may decrease the number of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. You may be at increased risk for infections and bleeding.

  • nausea, vomiting

  • pain, swelling, warmth in the leg

  • signs of decreased platelets or bleeding - bruising, pinpoint red spots on the skin, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine

  • signs of infection - fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine

  • signs of decreased red blood cells - unusually weak or tired, fainting spells, lightheadedness

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • constipation

  • hair loss

  • headache

  • loss of appetite

  • mouth sores

  • stomach pain

What may interact with this medicine?

This medicine may interact with the following medications:

  • antiviral medicines for HIV or AIDS

  • certain antibiotics like rifampin or rifabutin

  • certain medicines for fungal infections like itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, and voriconazole

  • certain medicines for seizures like carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenotoin

  • clarithromycin

  • gemfibrozil

  • nefazodone

  • St. John's Wort

What if I miss a dose?

It is important not to miss your dose. Call your doctor or health care professional if you are unable to keep an appointment.

Where should I keep my medicine?

This drug is given in a hospital or clinic and will not be stored at home.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • dehydration

  • diarrhea

  • infection (especially a virus infection such as chickenpox, cold sores, or herpes)

  • liver disease

  • low blood counts, like low white cell, platelet, or red cell counts

  • low levels of calcium, magnesium, or potassium in the blood

  • recent or ongoing radiation therapy

  • an unusual or allergic reaction to irinotecan, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives

  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

  • breast-feeding

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Your condition will be monitored carefully while you are receiving this medicine. You will need important blood work done while you are taking this medicine.

This drug may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon, as chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment even though you feel ill unless your doctor tells you to stop.

In some cases, you may be given additional medicines to help with side effects. Follow all directions for their use.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells.

Call your health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills, or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. This medicine decreases your body's ability to fight infections. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.

Avoid taking products that contain aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen unless instructed by your doctor. These medicines may hide a fever.

This medicine may increase your risk to bruise or bleed. Call your doctor or health care professional if you notice any unusual bleeding.

Be careful brushing and flossing your teeth or using a toothpick because you may get an infection or bleed more easily. If you have any dental work done, tell your dentist you are receiving this medicine.

Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine or for 6 months after stopping it. Women should inform their health care professional if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. Men should not father a child while taking this medicine and for 3 months after stopping it. There is potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional for more information.

Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine or for 7 days after stopping it.

This medicine has caused ovarian failure in some women. This medicine may make it more difficult to get pregnant. Talk to your health care professional if you are concerned about your fertility.

This medicine has caused decreased sperm counts in some men. This may make it more difficult to father a child. Talk to your health care professional if you are concerned about your fertility.

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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