Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Blood clotting: This medication can reduce the number of platelet cells in the blood. Platelets help the blood to clot, and a shortage could make you bleed more easily. Tell your doctor of any signs that your blood is not clotting as quickly. Such symptoms may include black and tarry stools, blood in the urine, easy bruising, or cuts that won't stop bleeding.
Extravasation: This medication may be irritating to your veins while it is being administered. Please let your nurse know immediately if you feel any burning or pain at the injection site while the medication is being given.
Infection: As well as killing cancer cells, this medication can reduce the number of cells that fight infection in the body (white blood cells). Avoid contact with people who have contagious infections and tell your doctor if you begin to notice signs of an infection, such as fever or chills.
Lung inflammation: This medication can cause lung inflammation, especially for people with a history of lung problems (e.g., fibrosis, lung cancer, chest radiation). If you experience cough, fever, or shortness of breath, contact your doctor immediately.
Neutropenic colitis: This medication can cause neutropenic colitits, which is an inflammation of the colon associated with a decrease in white blood cells. If you experience abdominal pain with fever, seek immediate medical attention.
Weakness/tiredness: This medication is not expected to make you drowsy and impair your ability to drive or use machinery. However, it may make some people feel weak or tired. Do not drive or use machinery if you feel weak or tired.
Pregnancy: There is a possibility of birth defects with topotecan if it is taken during pregnancy. Effective birth control should be practiced while using this medication. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if topotecan passes into breast milk. Women who are receiving this medication should not breast-feed.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.