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Hycamtin (oral/injection)

Generic name: topotecan (oral or injection) [TOE-poe-TEE-kan]

Brand name: Hycamtin
Drug class: miscellaneous anti-cancer agents

What is Hycamtin?

Hycamtin can be used to treat small-cell lung carcinoma and certain types of cervical tumors.Hycamtin can be used after other treatments fail.This medication guide does not list all possible uses of Hycamtin.

Side effects of Hycamtin

If you notice symptoms of an allergic reaction such as hives, difficulty breathing or swelling of lips, face, tongue or throat seek medical assistance immediately.

Hycamtin may cause serious side effects. If you experience:

  • New or worsening Cough; fever; trouble breathing
  • Diarrhea with fever, stomach cramps, and stomach pain;
  • Pain or burning after urinating;
  • Signs of pneumonia: fever, chills with mucus in the cough, chest pain, and feeling short of breath;
  • Low blood cell counts, fever, chills, and flu-like symptoms Mouth sores or skin sores Pale skin. Cold hands and feet. Bruising or bleeding.

If you experience certain side effects, your cancer treatment may be delayed or discontinued permanently.

Hycamtin side effects may include:

  • Low blood cell count
  • Pneumonia: symptoms of trouble breathing
  • Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain;
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hair loss;
  • Feeling weak or tired?

There may be other side effects.To seek medical advice regarding side effects, speak to your physician directly. Alternatively, the FDA can be reached at 1-800-FDA-1088 to report adverse events.


Hycamtin affects your immune system. You could get more serious infections, including fatal ones. If you experience unusual bleeding or bruising or if you show signs of infection, such as fever, chills, or diarrhea, call your doctor.

Before you take this drug

Hycamtin should not be used if you have an allergy to it.

Inform your doctor of any of the following issues:

  • Severe diarrhea;
  • Kidney disease
  • Lung problems;
  • A chest x-ray or radiation treatment in the chest area.

Hycamtin may harm an unborn child or cause birth defects if either the mother or father uses it.

  • Do not take Hycamtin while pregnant if you're a woman. Before starting treatment, you may need to take a pregnancy test. Use birth control while taking this medication and for 6 months following your last dose.
  • Use effective birth control if you're a man and your partner can get pregnant. Continue to use birth control at least three months after your last dose.
  • Inform your doctor immediately if you become pregnant while using Hycamtin.

Both men and women may be affected by this medicine. Hycamtin can harm a baby if it causes a pregnancy.Hycamtin should not be used while breastfeeding or for at least one week after the last dose.

How to take Hycamtin?

Read all instructions or guides that come with your medication and follow all directions. Follow the directions on the label.Hycamtin capsules may be taken either with or without food. It may be necessary to take two capsules of different colors at the same time. You should know that one capsule contains four times the amount of medicine as the other, even if they look similar in size.Do not take another Hycamtin dose the same day if you vomit immediately after taking one.Avoid using a capsule that has been broken or is open. A broken pill may contain dangerous medicine if it enters your eyes or skin. Wash your skin or eyes for 15 minutes with soap and warm water. Call your doctor.Hycamtin capsules should be stored in the fridge and protected from light.An infusion of hycamtin is administered into a vein. This injection will be given by a healthcare provider. If you experience any pain or swelling when the medicine is injected, tell your caregivers.Hycamtin may lower your blood count. You will have to test your blood often. The results may delay your cancer treatment.How long you will be treated with Hycamtin is determined by your doctor.

What happens if I miss the dose?

If you are almost due for your next dose, skip the missed one. Never take two doses of the same medicine at once.If you missed your appointment to receive your Hycamtin injection, call your doctor.

What happens if I overdose?

Call 1-800-222-1222 for poison help or seek immediate medical attention.Symptoms of an overdose include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or sores in the mouth.

What should be avoided?

Hycamtin can affect your reactions. Avoid driving and other hazardous activities until you are familiar with how they will affect you. You may be unable to react.Avoid being around people who are sick. If you notice any signs of an infection, tell your doctor immediately.

Interaction with other drug

Do not take any "colony-stimulating factor" medication within 24 hours of your last Hycamtin infusion.

  • Filgrastim (Neupogen, Granix, Zarxio);
  • Pegfilgrastim (Neulasta);
  • Sargramostim (Leukine).

Hycamtin can be affected by other drugs, such as vitamins and herbal products. Inform your doctor of all the medicines you are taking and those that you stop or start using.