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Eltrombopag is a medication primarily used to treat low platelet counts in patients with certain conditions such as chronic immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) or hepatitis C-related thrombocytopenia. While it can be effective in raising platelet levels, there are potential risks associated with its use:

  • Liver Problems: Eltrombopag may cause liver problems, including liver failure or abnormal liver function tests. Patients with pre-existing liver conditions should be monitored closely.
  • Blood Clots: There is a risk of developing blood clots (thromboembolism) while taking Eltrombopag. This risk may be increased in certain individuals, such as those with a history of blood clotting disorders.
  • Bone Marrow Problems: Eltrombopag may lead to bone marrow changes, including potential risk of developing bone marrow fibrosis.
  • Cataracts: There have been reports of cataracts developing in some patients treated with Eltrombopag. Regular eye examinations are recommended for patients taking this medication.
  • Other Side Effects: Common side effects of Eltrombopag include headache, nausea, diarrhea, muscle pain, and fatigue.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: The safety of Eltrombopag during pregnancy and breastfeeding is not well established, and it should be used with caution in these situations.

It’s important for patients to discuss the potential risks and benefits of Eltrombopag with their healthcare provider before starting treatment, and to report any unusual symptoms or side effects while taking the medication.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Eltrombopag is prescribed primarily for the treatment of thrombocytopenia, a condition characterized by a low platelet count in the blood. Platelets are crucial for blood clotting, and low platelet counts can lead to an increased risk of bleeding. Eltrombopag works by stimulating the production of platelets in the bone marrow, helping to increase platelet counts and reduce the risk of bleeding episodes in individuals with certain conditions, such as chronic immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) and chronic hepatitis C-associated thrombocytopenia. It is typically prescribed when other treatments have not been effective or are not suitable for the patient. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

How should this medicine be used?

Eltrombopag is usually taken orally in the form of tablets or as an oral suspension. The dosage and frequency of administration can vary depending on the specific condition being treated and individual patient factors. However, here are some general guidelines for how eltrombopag is typically used:

  • Dosage: The starting dose and subsequent adjustments are determined by the healthcare provider based on factors such as the patient’s platelet count and response to treatment.
  • Administration: Eltrombopag is usually taken once daily, with or without food, as directed by the healthcare provider.
  • Swallowing tablets: Tablets should be swallowed whole with water and should not be crushed, chewed, or broken.
  • Timing: It’s essential to take eltrombopag at the same time each day to maintain consistent blood levels and maximize its effectiveness.
  • Follow-up: Patients should follow up regularly with their healthcare provider for monitoring of platelet counts and adjustments to the dosage as needed.
  • Special instructions: Patients should carefully follow any additional instructions provided by their healthcare provider regarding the use of eltrombopag.
  • Storage: Eltrombopag should be stored according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer, typically at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

It’s crucial for patients to adhere to their prescribed dosage and follow their healthcare provider’s instructions closely for the safest and most effective use of eltrombopag. Additionally, patients should not adjust their dosage or stop taking eltrombopag without consulting their healthcare provider, as doing so could affect their condition and treatment outcome.

Other uses for this medicine

Eltrombopag is primarily used for the treatment of thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) associated with various conditions, such as chronic immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) and chronic hepatitis C-associated thrombocytopenia. However, it is important to note that eltrombopag may also have off-label uses, meaning it may be prescribed by healthcare providers for conditions other than those approved by regulatory agencies. Some potential off-label uses may include the treatment of thrombocytopenia associated with other medical conditions or as a supportive therapy in certain cancer treatments.

What special precautions should I follow?

As for special precautions when taking Eltrombopag, here are some key considerations:

  • Liver Function Monitoring: Since Eltrombopag can affect liver function, regular monitoring of liver enzymes is recommended, especially in patients with pre-existing liver conditions.
  • Blood Clotting Risk: Patients taking Eltrombopag should be monitored for signs of blood clots (thromboembolism), especially those with a history of blood clotting disorders or risk factors for clotting.
  • Bone Marrow Function: Close monitoring of bone marrow function may be necessary, as Eltrombopag can affect bone marrow function and may lead to bone marrow fibrosis in some cases.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: The safety of Eltrombopag during pregnancy and breastfeeding is not well established, and it should be used with caution in these situations. Women of childbearing age should use effective contraception while taking Eltrombopag.
  • Drug Interactions: Eltrombopag may interact with certain medications, including antacids, dairy products, and mineral supplements, which can interfere with its absorption. It’s important to discuss all medications and supplements you are taking with your healthcare provider before starting Eltrombopag.
  • Regular Follow-up: Patients taking Eltrombopag should attend regular follow-up appointments with their healthcare provider to monitor their response to treatment, any potential side effects, and the need for dose adjustments.

It’s crucial for patients to follow their healthcare provider’s instructions closely and report any concerning symptoms or side effects promptly. Only a qualified healthcare professional can provide personalized advice and recommendations regarding the use of Eltrombopag.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Special Dietary Instructions:

  • Timing of Medication: Take Eltrombopag at least 2 hours before or 4 hours after consuming dairy products, calcium-fortified juices, and supplements containing iron, calcium, aluminum, magnesium, selenium, and zinc. These can interfere with its absorption.
  • Consistency with Food: You can take Eltrombopag with or without food, but it’s important to maintain consistency once you choose a method.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

  • Missed Single Dose: If you miss a dose of Eltrombopag, take it as soon as you remember, unless it’s almost time for your next dose. In that case, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
  • Multiple Missed Doses: If you consistently miss doses, contact your healthcare provider. They can provide guidance on how to proceed and may adjust your dosing schedule if necessary.
  • Set Reminders: Consider setting alarms or using other reminders to help you remember to take your medication consistently.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Eltrombopag, like any medication, can cause side effects. Common side effects of Eltrombopag may include:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Changes in taste sensation
  • Cough
  • Upper respiratory tract infections

These side effects are usually mild to moderate and may improve as your body adjusts to the medication. However, if any of these side effects persist or worsen, it’s essential to inform your healthcare provider.

In addition to these common side effects, Eltrombopag can also cause more serious side effects in some individuals. These may include:

  • Liver problems: Eltrombopag can affect liver function and may lead to liver problems, including abnormal liver function tests or, in rare cases, liver failure. Signs of liver problems may include yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, abdominal pain, or unusual fatigue.
  • Blood clots: There is a risk of developing blood clots (thromboembolism) while taking Eltrombopag. This risk may be increased in individuals with a history of blood clotting disorders or other risk factors for clotting.
  • Cataracts: Some patients taking Eltrombopag may develop cataracts. Symptoms of cataracts may include cloudy or blurred vision, sensitivity to light, or difficulty seeing at night.
  • Bone marrow problems: Eltrombopag may cause changes in bone marrow function, including potential risk of bone marrow fibrosis.
  • Allergic reactions: Although rare, some individuals may experience allergic reactions to Eltrombopag, which can manifest as rash, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing.

It’s essential to report any unusual symptoms or side effects to your healthcare provider promptly. They can help determine whether any adjustments to your treatment are necessary and provide guidance on managing side effects effectively.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Storage and disposal of Eltrombopag:

  • Storage:
    • Store eltrombopag at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
    • Keep it in its original container, tightly closed, and out of reach of children.
  • Disposal:
    • Dispose of eltrombopag properly according to local regulations or guidelines.
    • Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so.
    • If you have questions about how to properly dispose of eltrombopag, consult your pharmacist or healthcare provider.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of emergency/overdose of Eltrombopag:

  • In case of an overdose, seek emergency medical attention or call your local poison control center immediately.
  • Symptoms of overdose may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, and fatigue.
  • It’s important to take eltrombopag exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not increase the dose without consulting them first.

What other information should I know?

  • Before taking eltrombopag, inform your healthcare provider about any allergies you have, medications you are taking (including over-the-counter drugs and supplements), and any medical conditions you have.
  • Eltrombopag can interact with certain medications, so it’s essential to discuss potential drug interactions with your healthcare provider.
  • Regular blood tests may be necessary to monitor your platelet count and adjust the dose of eltrombopag as needed.
  • Notify your healthcare provider if you experience any side effects while taking eltrombopag, including signs of liver problems (such as yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, abdominal pain) or signs of blood clots (such as sudden shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling in the arms or legs).
  • Avoid activities that may increase the risk of bleeding while taking eltrombopag, such as contact sports or activities that could result in injury.
  • Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions carefully, and do not stop taking eltrombopag without consulting them first.

Always consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns about eltrombopag or its use. They can provide you with personalized guidance based on your individual medical history and needs.

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