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Irinotecan Hydrochloride Solution for injection

It is used to treat colon and rectal cancer

Generic Name: irinotecan  |  Brand Name: Camptosar

Brand Names: Irinotecan Hydrochloride, Camptosar

There is an FDA Alert for this drug. Click here to view it.

    Experience of Supervising Clinician
  • Administer only under the supervision of qualified clinicians experienced in the use of cytotoxic therapy. Adequate diagnostic and treatment facilities should be readily available to manage complications.
    GI Toxicity
  • Early and late forms of diarrhea may occur; both may be severe. (See Diarrhea under Cautions.)
  • Early diarrhea (onset within 24 hours of administration) is cholinergic in nature (possibly preceded by diaphoresis, flushing, rhinitis, increased salivation, miosis, lacrimation, and abdominal cramping) and may be prevented or ameliorated by administration of atropine.
  • Late diarrhea (occurring >24 hours after administration) may be prolonged, life-threatening, and lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, or sepsis. Treat late diarrhea promptly with intensive oral loperamide therapy.
  • Carefully monitor patients with diarrhea; administer fluid and electrolyte replacement for dehydration and anti-infective therapy for ileus, fever, or severe neutropenia. Interrupt therapy and reduce subsequent doses if severe diarrhea occurs. (See Dosage Modification for Toxicity sections under Dosage and Administration.)

  • Severe myelosuppression may occur. (See Hematologic Effects under Cautions.)

What is this medicine?

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

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

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • blood disorders
  • 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
  • recent or ongoing radiation therapy
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to irinotecan, sorbitol, other chemotherapy, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

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 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.

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
  • atazanavir
  • ketoconazole
  • St. John's Wort

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • dexamethasone
  • diuretics
  • laxatives
  • medicines for seizures like carbamazepine, mephobarbital, phenobarbital, phenytoin, primidone
  • medicines to increase blood counts like filgrastim, pegfilgrastim, sargramostim
  • prochlorperazine
  • vaccines

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 doctor or 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 drug decreases your body's ability to fight infections. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.

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.

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

Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine.

Last Updated: May 05, 2009
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