How does this medicine work?
Etoposide (e-toe-poe-side) is used to treat certain types of cancer. It destroys the cancer cells during certain phases of cell life.
How is it given?
Etoposide is given in the hospital or clinic by IV infusion over 30 to 60 minutes (too- rapid infusion may cause low blood pressure). It may also be given at home in pill form, or it can be made into a liquid by certain pharmacies.
- If using the liquid form, put on gloves and shake well right before using. Draw up the correct amount in the medicine dropper or oral syringe. Give a small squirt of the medicine inside the cheek. To avoid choking, let your child swallow each squirt before giving more. Wash the dropper or syringe right after use, and discard the gloves.
- For babies, put on gloves, mix the medicine with a small amount of formula or breastmilk, and give it with a bottle nipple before a feeding. Do not add medicine to a whole bottle because if your baby does not finish it, you will not know how much of the medicine was taken. Wash the bottle nipple right after use, and discard the gloves.
Are there any precautions about food or other medicines?
Etoposide capsules or liquid may be taken with food.
Check with the doctor, before giving any other prescription or non-prescription medicines, herbs, or vitamins.
What should I do if a dose is missed?
If one dose is missed, give it as soon as you remember that day. Never give a double dose.
If your child vomits within 30 minutes after receiving a dose, give it again. If your child vomits after 30 minutes, do not repeat the dose. Call the oncology clinic if more than one dose is missed or vomited.
What are the side effects?
- low blood cell counts
- hair loss
- loss of appetite
- nausea, vomiting
- impaired liver function
- tingling in arms and legs
- mouth sores
- low blood pressure
- secondary cancer