CPT-11 (Generic Irinotecan Injection)
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Irinotecan injection must be administered under the care of a physician with training in administering chemotherapy drugs for cancer.
Runny nose, increased salivation, shrunken pupils (black circles in the middle of the eyes), watery eyes, sweating, flushing, diarrhoea (often dubbed “early diarrhoea”), and stomach cramps are some side effects that you may encounter while taking irinotecan or for up to 24 hours later. If you experience any of these signs, let your doctor know. You can receive medicine from your doctor to either avoid or treat these symptoms.
Moreover, more than 24 hours after receiving irinotecan, you may suffer severe diarrhoea (commonly known as “late diarrhoea”). As it can last a long time and result in dehydration, infection, kidney failure, and other issues, this kind of diarrhoea can be fatal. If you currently have or have previously had a bowel obstruction, let your doctor know (blockage in your intestine). Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of the following drugs: diuretics (‘water pills’), other cancer chemotherapy drugs, or laxatives such bisacodyl (Dulcolax) or senna (in Correctol, Ex-Lax, Peri-Colace, Senokot).
Have a discussion with your doctor about what to do if you experience late diarrhoea before you start your irinotecan treatment. If you have late diarrhoea, your doctor may advise you to keep loperamide (Imodium AD) on hand so you may start taking it immediately away. Most likely, your physician would advise you to take loperamide at regular intervals both throughout the day and at night. The instructions for taking loperamide from your doctor will differ from those on the product label; make sure to follow them. To control diarrhoea while receiving therapy, your doctor will also advise you on which foods to eat and which to avoid. Be sure to stay hydrated and adhere to this diet strictly.
When you first get diarrhoea while undergoing treatment, call your doctor right away. In addition, if you encounter any of the following signs, call your doctor right away: A fever (greater than 100.4°F), shaking chills, black or bloody faeces, diarrhoea that doesn’t stop in 24 hours, lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting, or extreme nausea and vomiting that prevents you from drinking anything are all symptoms of a fever. Your doctor will keep a close eye on you and, if necessary, may administer fluids or antibiotics.
Your bone marrow’s capacity to produce blood cells may decline as a result of irinotecan. Inform your doctor if you have or have ever had a blood disorder, Gilbert’s syndrome (reduced capacity to metabolise bilirubin, a substance that is naturally present in the body), are currently receiving radiation therapy for your stomach or pelvis (the region between your hip bones), or if you have ever received this type of radiation therapy. Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms: Symptoms of an infection include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, headache, disorientation, pale complexion, confusion, excessive exhaustion, and unusual bleeding or bruising.
Keep all of your appointments with your physician and the lab. To determine how well your body is responding to irinotecan, your doctor will prescribe a few tests.
The dangers of using irinotecan should be discussed with your doctor.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Colon or rectal cancer is treated with irinotecan alone or in conjunction with other drugs (cancer that begins in the large intestine). Irinotecan belongs to the group of anticancer drugs known as topoisomerase I inhibitors. It functions by halting the development of cancer cells.
How should this medicine be used?
Irinotecan is a liquid that must be administered intravenously (into a vein) over the course of 90 minutes by a physician or nurse. It is typically administered no more frequently than once per week, in accordance with a schedule that alternates between one or more weeks of receiving irinotecan and one or more weeks of not receiving the drug. The schedule that will work best for you will be determined by your doctor.
If you encounter certain adverse effects, your doctor may decide to postpone your treatment and change your dose. Throughout your irinotecan treatment, be careful to let your doctor know how you are feeling.
Before you take each dosage of irinotecan, your doctor may prescribe medication to help with nausea and vomiting prevention. To avoid or cure further side effects, your doctor may potentially prescribe you additional medication.
For a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient, ask your pharmacist or doctor.
Other uses for this medicine
Moreover, irinotecan is occasionally used with additional drugs to treat small cell lung cancer. The dangers of using this drug for your illness should be discussed with your doctor.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details if you believe this drug should be used for something else.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before receiving irinotecan,
- If you have any drug allergies, including to sorbitol or irinotecan, notify your doctor and pharmacist right away.
- If you are on ketoconazole, tell your doctor (Nizoral). Your doctor would likely advise against taking ketoconazole for a week prior to starting your irinotecan medication as well as throughout it.
- If you are taking St. John’s wort, let your doctor know. For two weeks prior to starting your irinotecan treatment as well as throughout your treatment, you shouldn’t take St. John’s wort.
- Inform your doctor and pharmacist about any additional prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, dietary supplements, and herbal products you are now taking or intend to use. Incorporate any of the following: drugs for seizures such as carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Tegretol), phenobarbital (Luminal), and phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek); atazanavir (Reyataz); gemfibrozil (Lopid); rifabutin (Mycobutin); and rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, in Rifamate and Rifater). Your physician might need to adjust the dosage of your drugs or keep a close eye on you for side effects.
- If you have or have had had diabetes, fructose intolerance (the inability to absorb the natural sugar present in fruit), liver, lung, or kidney illness, please let your doctor know.
- If you are pregnant, intend to become pregnant, or intend to father a child, let your doctor know right away. While you are receiving irinotecan, neither you nor your partner should get pregnant. Before starting this drug, you must have a pregnancy test that is negative. Use reliable birth control if you’re a woman throughout your therapy and for six months after your last dose. Use reliable birth control (condoms) during treatment and for three months after your last dose if you’re a man and your spouse is capable of getting pregnant. Call your doctor if you or your partner become pregnant while taking irinotecan. The foetus could be harmed by irinotecan.
- If you are breastfeeding, let your doctor know. During and for seven days after your final dose of irinotecan injection, you shouldn’t breastfeed.
- You should be aware that this medicine may lower both male and female fertility. Discuss the dangers of obtaining an injection of irinotecan with your doctor.
- Inform the surgeon or dentist that you are taking irinotecan if you are having surgery, including dental surgery.
- Irinotecan may cause you to feel lightheaded or impair your eyesight, particularly in the first 24 hours following a dose, so you should be aware of this. Prior to understanding how this drug affects you, avoid using machinery or driving a car.
- Before getting any shots while receiving irinotecan medication, see your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
In order to control diarrhoea while undergoing treatment, your doctor will discuss a special diet you need adhere to. Pay close attention to these directions.
If you plan to consume grapefruits or grapefruit juice while taking this medication, consult your doctor.
What side effects can this medication cause?
There may be adverse consequences from irinotecan. If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right once:
- Sores and swelling in the mouth
- Reduced appetite
- Loss of weight
- Hair fall
- Pain particularly back pain
Certain adverse effects can be very harmful. Call your doctor right away if you have any of these signs or any of those in the IMPORTANT CAUTION section:
- Chest ache
- Eyes or skin that have a yellow tint
- Enlarged stomach
- Unanticipated or unusual weight gain
- Edoema of the lower legs, lower arms, feet, ankles, or hands
- Breathing or swallowing challenges
Irinotecan users occasionally experienced the development of blood clots in their legs, lungs, brains, or hearts. Irinotecan may or may not have contributed to the blood clots, depending on the information available. Discuss the dangers of receiving irinotecan with your doctor.
Further negative effects of irinotecan are possible. If you have any strange side effects while taking this medicine, call your doctor right away.
You or your doctor can submit a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting programme online or by phone if you have a serious side event (1-800-332-1088).
In case of emergency/overdose
Call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 in the event of an overdose. Moreover, information can be found online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. Call 911 right once if the person has collapsed, experienced a seizure, is having difficulty breathing, or cannot be roused.
Overdose symptoms could include:
- Additional symptoms of infection, such as a sore throat, fever, chills, and cough
- Really bad diarrhoea
What other information should I know?
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.