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Common Brand Name(s): Camptosar
This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
You will be closely monitored (for example, by having blood tests) by your doctor while using this medication. Keep all medical and laboratory appointments.
Irinotecan may cause severe diarrhea, which can occur during or right after you receive this medication and/or more than 24 hours afterward. If the diarrhea starts right away, you may also have other side effects such as runny nose, increased saliva, watery eyes, sweating, stomach cramps, or flushing. If the diarrhea starts later, it could be a different type that may not stop and can cause serious (possibly fatal) loss of too much body water (dehydration), mineral imbalance, or serious infection (sepsis). Tell your doctor right away if you have diarrhea and/or any of the symptoms that occur with the early form of diarrhea. Also tell your doctor if you have stomach/abdominal pain, extreme thirst, very dry mouth, muscle cramps/weakness, fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, fainting, dizziness, lightheadedness, or signs of infection (such as sore throat that doesn't go away, fever). Your doctor should prescribe other medications to treat the diarrhea and other symptoms.
This medication may cause very serious (possibly fatal) blood disorders (decreased bone marrow function leading to low number of blood cells such as white cells, red cells, and platelets). This effect can decrease your body's ability to fight an infection, cause your body to bruise or bleed easier, or cause anemia. Tell your doctor right away if you develop any of the following: signs of infection (such as sore throat that doesn't go away, fever), easy bruising/bleeding, unusual tiredness, fast/pounding heartbeat.
This medication is used to treat cancer of the colon and rectum.
This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.
This drug may also be used for other types of cancer (such as lung, bone cancer).
This medication is given by injection into a vein by a health care professional. The dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to treatment.
If this medication comes into contact with your skin, wash the skin right away and completely with soap and water. If this medication gets into your eyes, mouth, or nose, flush completely with plenty of water. Consult your doctor for more details.
See also Warning section.
Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, cough, drowsiness, mouth sores, weakness, or trouble sleeping may occur. Nausea and vomiting can be severe. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Eating several small meals, not eating before treatment, or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. If these effects last or get worse, or if you are unable to drink/eat because of nausea/vomiting, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Temporary hair loss may occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.
Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including:
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:
Irinotecan can commonly cause a mild rash that is usually not serious. However, you may not be able to tell it apart from a rare rash that could be a sign of a severe allergic reaction. Get medical help right away if you develop any rash.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using irinotecan, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this drug, tell your doctor your medical history, including:
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are using this medication.
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy or blur your vision. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness or clear vision until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
To avoid dizziness and lightheadedness when rising from a sitting or lying position, get up slowly.
Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor, and avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine or flu vaccine inhaled through the nose.
To lower your risk of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.
Wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infections.
Older adults may be at greater risk for diarrhea while using this drug.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Your doctor may order a pregnancy test before starting this medication. You should not become pregnant while using irinotecan. Irinotecan may harm an unborn baby. Women of childbearing age should ask about reliable forms of birth control while using this medication and for 6 months after the last dose. Men with female partners of childbearing age should use reliable forms of birth control while using this medication and for 3 months after the last dose. If you become pregnant, talk to your doctor right away about the risks and benefits of this medication.
This drug passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug and for at least 7 days after the last dose is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include:
Other medications can affect the removal of irinotecan from your body, which may affect how irinotecan works. Examples include azole antifungals (such as ketoconazole, itraconazole), clarithromycin, gemfibrozil, nefazodone, HIV protease inhibitors (such as atazanavir), rifamycins (such as rifabutin), ritonavir, St. John's wort, drugs used to treat seizures (such as carbamazepine, phenytoin), among others.
Avoid eating foods or taking products containing tumeric (curcumin) while being treated with irinotecan. It may decrease this medication's effects. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Alberta residents can call PADIS (Poison and Drug Information Service) 24 hours a day at 1-800-332-1414. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: signs of infection (such as sore throat that doesn't go away, fever), severe diarrhea.
Lab and/or medical tests (such as complete blood count, hemoglobin, platelets) should be done while you are using this medication. Keep all medical and lab appointments. Consult your doctor for more details.
It is important to get each dose of this medication as scheduled. If you miss a dose, ask your doctor or pharmacist right away for a new dosing schedule.
If you have questions about missing a dose or you don't have more medication, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Consult the product instructions and your pharmacist for storage details. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised December 2022.
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