Etoposide can cause a severe decrease in the number of blood cells in your bone marrow. Your doctor will order laboratory tests regularly before and during your treatment. A decrease in the number of blood cells in your body may cause certain symptoms and may increase the risk that you will develop a serious infection or bleeding. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: fever, sore throat, ongoing cough and congestion, or other signs of infection; unusual bleeding or bruising; bloody or black, tarry stools; bloody vomit; or vomiting blood or brown material that resembles coffee grounds.
Etoposide is used in combination with other medications to treat a certain type of lung cancer (small cell lung cancer; SCLC). Etoposide is in a class of medications known as podophyllotoxin derivatives. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells in your body.
Etoposide comes as a capsule to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day for 4 or 5 days in a row. This cycle may be repeated once every 3 to 4 weeks, depending on your response to the medication. The length of treatment depends on the types of drugs you are taking, how well your body responds to them, and the type of cancer you have. Take etoposide at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take etoposide exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Etoposide is also sometimes used to treat certain types of ovarian cancer (cancer that begins in the female reproductive organs where eggs are formed). Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
sores in the mouth and throat
loss of appetite or weight
unusual tiredness or weakness
pain, burning, or tingling in the hands or feet
difficulty breathing or swallowing
fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat
yellowing of the skin or eyes
Etopside may increase the risk that you will develop other cancers. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking this medication.
Etoposide may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Keep this medication in the container it came in, in the refrigerator, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Do not freeze. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain tests to check your body's response to etoposide.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Last Revised - 03/15/2012
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 2013. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.