Warning: You will be
closely monitored while taking Irinotecan. This drug is known to cause severe diarrhea, usually during or right
after treatment or 24 hours after. If the diarrhea comes immediately you will usually have side effects, such as
runny nose, increased saliva, sweating, stomach cramps, watery eyes, or flushing. If your diarrhea starts later you
may have something more severe and possibly fatal, such as dehydration, mineral imbalance and infection. Tell your
doctor immediately if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. If you experience any other symptoms such as,
extreme thirst, stomach/abdominal pain, muscle cramps, weakness, lightheadedness, fast/slow/irregular heartbeat,
fainting, or signs of an infection you should contact your healthcare professional immediately. Your doctor should
prescribe you medication to help with diarrhea.
treatment may also cause serious blood disorders, such as a decrease in your bone marrow function, which lessens
your ability to fight infection.
Irinotecan is used to treat cancer of the colon and rectum. It may also be used for other treatments, but is not
professionally published on the label to do so. Consult your doctor before use for bone and lung
Dosage: Irinotecan is given by a healthcare professional
intravenously. The injection usually lasts about 90 minutes, usually in combination with other
drugs. The usual dose is either 180 mg/m2 (milligram per square meter) of body surface area (BSA), every two weeks in polychemotherapy;
or 350 mg/m2 in monochemotherapy every 3 weeks. However, in cases your body develops adverse reactions, the
dosage can be reduced. Irinotecan should be administered by a specialist in oncology/hematology, or by competent
nurse having experience in giving chemotherapy drugs.
Irinotecan should not be used if you have certain other medical conditions such as, bowel blockage and a certain
use of this medication you should tell your doctor of all medical history, including, radiation treatments,
blood/bone marrow disorders, liver disease, kidney disease, or lung disease.
drug may make you dizzy and have blurred vision. Do not doing anything that requires alertness, such as driving
and operating machinery. Avoid alcohol consumption.
medication is not recommended for the elderly, as they may be more sensitive to the side effects, such as
women should not use this medication, as it may harm an unborn baby. Women of child bearing age should use
reliable forms of birth control. Breast feeding is not recommended while taking this drug, as it may be passed
on to a baby.
have immunizations while taking this medication, and avoid people that have recently had the oral polio
vaccination or the inhaled through the nose flu vaccine.
Mechanism of Action (MOA):
Irinotecan is an antineoplastic (anticancer) agent; it kills cancer cells by interfering with their genetic
material (DNA), which prevents them from reproducing or multiplying.
This drug may cause interactions when combined with atazanvir, drugs affecting the liver enzymes that remove
this treatment from the body (e.g. rifamycins, including rifabutin, certain anti-seizure medications including
carbamazepine/phenytoin/phenobarbital) and water pills.
taking St. John’s Wort within 2 weeks before or during treatment. Avoid taking ketoconazole within 1 week during
or after use of this drug. You should also avoid foods with tumeric.
effects: by stopping
the growth of cancer cells, Irinotecan also interfere with your healthy cells that multiply quickly; this often
cause adverse effects. Common Irinotecan side effects
- hair loss
- weight loss
- nausea and
of sores in the mouth
disorders (constipation or diarrhea).
cause serious side effects which require immediate medical attention; contact your doctor immediately if you
experience any of these symptoms:
- shortness of breath or
- painful or difficulty
- severe low or high blood pressure
- yellowing of the skin
or eyes (jaundice)
- skin disorders such as
rash, hives or itching
- Swelling of your arms,
feet, ankles, or lower legs.