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Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Topoisomerase I Inhibitor Cancer-related

Irinotecan - What is it for

​Irinotecan is a chemotherapy drug that may be used alone or together with other drugs to treat certain types of cancer.

Irinotecan - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Irinotecan cause?

Early side effects

  • Abdominal cramping, sweating, diarrhea, watery eyes, visual disturbances, or increased salivation
    • Atropine injection will be given before treatment to reduce such symptoms.
  • Nausea and vomiting
    • There are medications available which may prevent or decrease these side effects. If you are given these medications, take them as directed.
  • General weakness

Delayed side effects

  • A drop in the blood cell counts may occur several days after treatment
  • Temporary hair loss
  • Diarrhea
    • Drink plenty of clear fluids (e.g. water, sports drinks, soup, clear juices and decaffeinated tea). Oral rehydration solutions may be taken if needed. 
    • Cut down on milk and lactose products temporarily if they worsen your diarrhea.
    • Avoid spicy, fried, greasy, fatty foods, raw vegetables, caffeine (tea, coffee), alcohol and carbonated drinks.
    • Take a BRAT (banana, rice, apples, toast) diet.
    • Avoid taking laxatives (e.g. lactulose, Macrogol, senna).
    • Bathe regularly to ensure good hygiene. Clean the perianal area with mild soap and warm water after each loose bowel movement. Keep the skin clean and dry. When the skin is dry, you may apply a barrier cream (e.g. zinc oxide ointment) to protect the skin.

Please seek medical attention if any of the following occurs:

  • Fever of 38°C or higher.
  • Severe diarrhea not resolved with appropriate anti-diarrheal medication
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising or black sticky stools
  • Dizziness that persist for more than 3 days
  • Persistent dry cough or shortness of breath

Before taking Irinotecan , what precautions must I follow?

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Irinotecan ?

Irinotecan - Dosage and How to Use

How should Irinotecan be used?

What should I do if I miss a dose?

What should I do if I overdose?

Irinotecan - Handling

How should I handle Irinotecan safely?

Irinotecan - Storage

How should I store Irinotecan ?

How should I dispose of Irinotecan safely?

Irinotecan - Additional Information

  • Updated on 7/29/2022 12:00:00 AM
  • Article contributed by Department of Pharmacy National Cancer Centre Singapore
The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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