Drug Interactions

Topotecan can potentially interact with a few other medications (see Drug Interactions With Topotecan).

What If I Take an Overdose of Topotecan?

An overdose with this medication would likely be quite serious. If you think you may have overdosed on this drug, seek immediate medical attention.
(Click Topotecan Overdose for more information.)

What Should I Do If I Miss a Dose?

If you miss a dose of IV topotecan, contact your healthcare provider to set up an appointment for your dose as soon as possible. If you miss a dose of oral topotecan, ask your healthcare provider for further instructions.

How Does Topotecan Work?

Topotecan is part of a group of medications called topoisomerase I inhibitors. Topoisomerase I is an enzyme that normally helps unwind DNA during the cell division process. The enzyme helps the process by creating temporary nicks in the DNA to help relieve strain. Topotecan interferes with this process, preventing the DNA from unwinding and causing excess DNA strain.

When and How to Use It

Some general considerations include the following:
  • Topotecan comes in both injectable and oral capsule form.
  • Topotecan capsules are taken by mouth, usually once daily for five days, every 21 days (for a certain number of cycles). They can be taken with or without food.
  • Do not crush or open topotecan capsules. Do not handle capsules that are damaged in any way.
  • If you vomit a dose of topotecan capsules, you should not "make up" the dose by taking extra, although you should let your healthcare provider know.
  • Topotecan IV is given via an IV infusion (also known as an "IV drip"), typically once daily (for 30 minutes) for three to five days every 21 days (for a certain number of cycles).
  • Let your healthcare provider know immediately if you feel any burning or stinging while receiving the IV infusion, as this may be a sign that the medication is leaking outside the vein (a situation which can be quite serious).
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Chemotherapy works best when it is taken "on schedule," although often the side effects that occur limit a person's ability to stay on schedule with the full dose.
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Topotecan Chemotherapy Information

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