Generic Name: irinotecan (Intravenous route)
Irinotecan hydrochloride should be administered only under the supervision of a physician who is experienced in the use of cancer chemotherapeutic agents. Appropriate management of complications is possible only when adequate diagnostic and treatment facilities are readily available. Irinotecan hydrochloride can induce both early and late forms of diarrhea that appear to be mediated by different mechanisms. Both forms of diarrhea may be severe. Early diarrhea (occurring during or shortly after infusion of irinotecan hydrochloride) may be accompanied by cholinergic symptoms of rhinitis, increased salivation, miosis, lacrimation, diaphoresis, flushing, and intestinal hyperperistalsis that can cause abdominal cramping. Early diarrhea and other cholinergic symptoms may be prevented or ameliorated by atropine. Late diarrhea (generally occurring more than 24 hours after administration of irinotecan hydrochloride) can be life threatening since it may be prolonged and may lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, or sepsis. Late diarrhea should be treated promptly with loperamide. Patients with diarrhea should be carefully monitored and given fluid and electrolyte replacement if they become dehydrated or antibiotic therapy if they develop ileus, fever, or severe neutropenia. Administration of irinotecan hydrochloride should be interrupted and subsequent doses reduced if severe diarrhea occurs.
Severe myelosuppression may occur .
Can induce both early and late forms of diarrhea that appear to be mediated by different mechanisms and both forms of diarrhea may be severe. Early diarrhea may be accompanied by cholinergic symptoms that may be prevented or ameliorated by atropine. Late diarrhea (generally occurring more than 24 hours after administration of irinotecan) can be life threatening since it may be prolonged and may lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, or sepsis. Late diarrhea should be treated promptly with loperamide and administration of irinotecan should be interrupted and subsequent doses reduced if severe diarrhea occurs. Severe myelosuppression may occur with irinotecan administration .
Commonly used brand name(s):
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antineoplastic Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Topoisomerase I Inhibitor
Irinotecan belongs to the group of medicines called antineoplastics (cancer drugs). It is used to treat cancer of the colon or rectum .
Irinotecan interferes with the growth of cancer cells, which are eventually destroyed. Since the growth of normal cells may also be affected by the medicine, other effects may also occur. Some of these may be serious and must be reported to your doctor. Other effects, like hair loss, may not be serious but may cause concern. Some effects may occur after treatment with irinotecan has been stopped. Be sure that you have discussed with your doctor the possible side effects of this medicine as well as the good it can do .
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription .
Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although these uses are not included in product labeling, irinotecan is used in certain patients with the following medical conditions:
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
There is no specific information comparing use of irinotecan in children with use in other age groups. However, one study had to be discontinued due to serious unwanted effects in children.
Patients greater than 65 years of age may be at an increased risk for severe diarrhea.
|All Trimesters||D||Studies in pregnant women have demonstrated a risk to the fetus. However, the benefits of therapy in a life threatening situation or a serious disease, may outweigh the potential risk.|
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this medicine with any of the following is usually not recommended, but may be unavoidable in some cases. If used together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use this medicine, or give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco.
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
This section provides information on the proper use of a number of products that contain irinotecan. It may not be specific to Camptosar. Please read with care.
Irinotecan often causes nausea and vomiting. It is very important that you continue to receive the medicine even if it makes you feel ill. Ask your health care professional about ways to lessen these effects.
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects. Some of the side effects of this medicine do not have any symptoms and must be found with a blood test.
While you are being treated with irinotecan, and after you stop treatment with it, do not have any immunizations (vaccinations) without your doctor's approval. Irinotecan may lower your body's resistance, and there is a chance you might get the infection the immunization is meant to prevent. In addition, other persons living in your household should not get live vaccines (e.g., oral poliovirus vaccine, nasal influenza [flu] virus vaccine). Try to avoid persons who have taken live vaccines. Do not get close to them and do not stay in the same room with them for very long. If you cannot take these precautions, you should wear a protective face mask that covers the nose and mouth.
Irinotecan may cause diarrhea, which can last long enough and be severe enough to cause serious medical problems. If diarrhea occurs while you are being treated with irinotecan:
Irinotecan can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells in your blood, increasing the chance of getting an infection. It can also lower the number of platelets, which are needed for proper blood clotting. If this occurs, there are certain precautions you can take, especially when your blood count is low, to reduce the risk of infection or bleeding:
This medicine may cause some people to become dizzy, drowsy, or less alert than they are normally. This medicine may also cause blurred vision or other vision problems. If any of these side effects occur, do not drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert or not able to see well. If these reactions are especially bothersome, check with your doctor .
Irinotecan may also cause a temporary loss of hair in some people. After treatment has ended, normal hair growth should return.
This medicine sometimes causes flushing of the face. This effect is harmless and does not need medical treatment.
Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away .
St. John's Wort should not be used during irinotecan therapy. If you are using St. John's Wort, it should be discontinued at least 2 weeks before the first cycle of irinotecan .
Ketoconazole (Nizoral®) should not be used during irinotecan treatment. If you are using ketoconazole, it should be discontinued at least 1 week prior to starting irinotecan therapy .
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:More common
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:More common
The side effects listed above may occur, or continue to occur, after treatment with irinotecan has ended. Check with your doctor if you notice any of them after you stop receiving the medicine.
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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