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Cosmegen (Dactinomycin)

Warning: Cosmegen must be administered very carefully.  The physician must take care to keep the medication away from the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes.  Wearing protective clothing is important.  The patient side must help the doctor administer the injection without allowing it to spread into the surrounding tissue.  This can damage the muscle or skin.  The patient should immediately inform the doctor if he senses a pain or irritation in the area of the injection.

Indications: Cosmegen is the brand name for the generic drug Dactinomycin, which works to treat cancer by inhibiting or preventing the growth of cancer cells.  In some cases, it isused alone, in others, part of a regimen of other anti-cancer drugs. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.

This drug, also know by its generic equivalent Dactinomycin, is an important drug for the treatment of cancer.  It does this by reducing the growth rate of cancer cells, or preventing their growth altogether.  Although this medication can be used as a stand-alone treatment, it is sometimes combined with other drugs for specific circumstances.

Cosmegen is most of the times used alone in association with other anticancer drugs, to treat the following cancers: 

  • Ewing's sarcoma
  • testicular cancer
  • melanoma
  • uterine cancer
  • Wilms' tumor
  • rhabdomyosarcoma
  • gestational trophoblastic disease
  • neuroblastoma
  • retinoblastoma
  • Kaposi's sarcoma
  • Soft tissue sarcoma 

Dosage: Cosmegen is administered to a patient through injection.  This can only be performed by a certified health care professional.  The injection is administered slowly, over the period of a few minutes.  This injection is repeated each day for a period of 1 to 5 days depending on the specifications of the oncologist.  He will also order lab tests during the treatment to monitor reaction and ensure that the patient is qualified for the next dose.  Because of the exactness of the schedule, the patient must make sure to attend each appointment at the specified time.

The drug must be prepared and administered by medical specialists in oncology or hematology or nurses experienced in oncology. Although administered into a vein, the drug can leak into surrounding tissue, cause health issues; special monitoring during the treatment is necessary.

Interactions: The patient must work with his physician to make sure to deal with the various drugs that interact with Cosmegen.  This is important to ensure that the treatment of this medication will have full potency, and that the patient does not suffer the serious side effects of the interaction.  The first step is for the patient to compile a list of each of the drugs he is currently taking, along with the frequencies and dosages, and present this to his physician and pharmacist.  The patient must make sure not to alter the pattern of these drugs during treatment.

Contraindications: Perhaps the most important reason to delay treatment with this drug is pregnancy, because it can be absorbed through both the skin and the lungs.  It is also important not to have any open cuts or wounds in the neighborhood of the injection.  The patient must resist touching the injected area with bare hands, and to make sure that he regularly washes his hands.  Patients should also delay treatment if they are currently suffering for chickenpox or shingles or if they have recently received flu treatments through inhalation or polio treatments through vaccine.

Side effects: b y attacking the cancer cells, Cosmegen also attacks normal cells, which can cause various side effects in most patients. common Cosmegen include:      

  • abdominal pain and diarrhea
  • difficulty swallowing
  • blistering skin
  • skin irritation
  • Skin rash 

Cosmegen can cause serious side effects which require immediate medical attention; contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • chills 
  • Seizures  
  • severe depression
  • fever, which can be accompanied with a persistent cough  
  • shortness of breath 
  • breathing difficulty  
  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • dizziness or/and faintness 
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes 
  • swelling of your feet or ankles 
  • Swelling and pain at the injection site.  

 

References: 

nlm.nih.gov