Top of the page
Common Brand Name(s): Eposin
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.
This medication may cause certain severe blood and bone marrow problems (low red blood cells/white blood cells/platelets). This can affect your body's ability to stop bleeding or fight infection. Tell your doctor right away if you develop unusual tiredness, signs of infection (such as sore throat that doesn't go away, fever, chills), or easy bruising/bleeding (such as black stools, bloody vomit).
Etoposide is used to treat testicular cancer and certain forms of lung cancer (such as small cell lung cancer). Etoposide works by slowing the growth of cancer cells.
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 leukemias, lymphomas, ovarian cancer, bone cancer, prostate cancer).
This medication is given by slow injection into a vein by a health care professional. It is given as directed by your doctor, usually over 30 to 60 minutes every day or every other day for a total of 3 to 5 doses. This cycle may be repeated every 3 to 4 weeks.
This medication may cause low blood pressure. Tell your doctor or other health care professional if you feel dizzy. Your injection may need to be stopped or given more slowly.
The dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to treatment. Your doctor will check your blood counts to make sure you can receive your next cycle. Keep all regular medical and laboratory appointments.
See also Warning and How to Use sections.
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, tiredness, weakness, changes in taste, loss of appetite, and pain/redness at the injection site 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 any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Temporary hair loss may occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.
Pain or sores in the mouth and throat may occur. Brush your teeth carefully/gently, avoid using mouthwash that contains alcohol, and rinse your mouth frequently with cool water mixed with baking soda or salt. It may also be best to eat soft, moist foods.
Many people using this medication may have serious side effects. However, you have been prescribed this drug because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Careful monitoring by your doctor may decrease your risk.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
This medication may lower your ability to fight infections. This may make you more likely to get a serious (rarely fatal) infection or make any infection you have worse. Tell your doctor right away if you have any signs of infection (such as sore throat that doesn't go away, fever, chills, cough).
Although etoposide may be used to treat certain leukemias, it may rarely cause acute leukemia. Ask your doctor for more details.
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:
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 etoposide, 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 medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:
Etoposide can make you more likely to get infections or may make current infections worse. Stay away from anyone who has an infection that may easily spread (such as chickenpox, COVID-19, measles, flu). Talk to your doctor if you have been exposed to an infection or for more details.
Tell your health care professional that you are using etoposide before having any immunizations/vaccinations. Avoid contact with people who have recently received live vaccines (such as flu vaccine inhaled through the nose).
To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.
This drug may make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).
Daily use of alcohol while using this medicine may increase your risk for stomach bleeding. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about how much alcohol you may safely drink.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Children may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially allergic effects.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially drowsiness, weakness, mouth/throat sores, loss of appetite, low white blood cells, and dehydration.
This medication can affect fertility in both males and females. Ask your doctor for more details.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not become pregnant while using etoposide. Etoposide may harm an unborn baby. Women using this medication should ask about reliable forms of birth control during treatment and for 6 months after the last dose. Men using this medication should ask about reliable forms of birth control during treatment and for 4 months after the last dose. If you or your partner becomes pregnant, talk to your doctor right away about the risks and benefits of this medication.
This medication passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using etoposide 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.
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.
Lab and/or medical tests (such as complete blood count, kidney/liver function) 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 March 2023.
Copyright(c) 2023 First Databank, Inc.
Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.