PrescriptionGiant is a FREE prescription savings program that can save you up to 75% on your prescriptions with or without insurance!

Zanosar (Generic Streptozocin)

Actual product appearance may differ slightly.

Click the CARD below to print or take a screenshot on your mobile phone or tablet. There is no need to download another app!

If you would like to personalize your card enter your full name in the member name field below the card at this link and click the Update button.


Zanosar (streptozocin) is a chemotherapy drug used in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. While it can be effective in fighting cancer, it comes with certain risks and potential side effects. Here is a brief overview of the risks associated with taking Zanosar:

  • Bone Marrow Suppression: Zanosar can suppress the bone marrow’s ability to produce blood cells, leading to low red blood cell counts (anemia), low white blood cell counts (neutropenia), and low platelet counts (thrombocytopenia). This can result in fatigue, increased risk of infections, and a tendency to bruise or bleed easily.
  • Kidney Toxicity: Zanosar is primarily eliminated through the kidneys, and it can cause kidney toxicity. Monitoring kidney function is crucial during treatment.
  • Liver Function Changes: Zanosar may affect liver function, and elevated liver enzyme levels can occur. Regular monitoring of liver function is typically done during treatment.
  • Gastrointestinal Effects: Common gastrointestinal side effects include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. These can impact nutritional status and overall well-being.
  • Allergic Reactions: While rare, allergic reactions to Zanosar can occur. Symptoms may include rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, or difficulty breathing.
  • Flu-Like Symptoms: Some patients may experience flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, and muscle aches.
  • Injection Site Reactions: As Zanosar is administered intravenously, there may be reactions at the injection site, such as pain, redness, or swelling.
  • Impaired Fertility: Zanosar may cause infertility, especially in men. Fertility preservation discussions should be considered before starting treatment.
  • Secondary Cancers: Like many chemotherapy drugs, Zanosar is associated with a risk of secondary cancers, although the overall risk is typically outweighed by the benefits of treating the primary cancer.

It’s important for patients to discuss these risks and potential side effects with their healthcare provider before starting Zanosar treatment. The decision to use this medication is based on a careful consideration of the potential benefits in treating cancer versus the risks and side effects associated with the drug. Regular monitoring and open communication with healthcare providers are essential throughout the course of treatment.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Zanosar is the brand name for the medication streptozocin, which is an antineoplastic (anti-cancer) chemotherapy drug. Zanosar is primarily prescribed for the treatment of pancreatic cancer, particularly islet cell cancer (also known as pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors).

The exact mechanism of action of streptozocin is not completely understood, but it is believed to work by interfering with the DNA structure in cancer cells, ultimately leading to their death.

How should this medicine be used?

The usage and dosage of Zanosar are typically determined by a healthcare professional based on the specific characteristics of the patient and the type and stage of cancer being treated. It is usually administered intravenously (IV) by a healthcare provider in a hospital or clinic setting.

Here are some general guidelines for the use of Zanosar:

  • Administration: Zanosar is administered as an intravenous infusion, usually over a period of time determined by the healthcare provider. The infusion is typically done in a medical setting.
  • Frequency of Administration: The frequency of administration depends on the specific treatment plan prescribed by the oncologist. It may be given as a single dose or as part of a combination chemotherapy regimen.
  • Precautions: Before starting Zanosar treatment, healthcare providers will assess the patient’s overall health and may perform tests to ensure that the patient is a suitable candidate for the medication. Patients may be monitored closely during and after the infusion for potential side effects.
  • Side Effects: Like many chemotherapy drugs, Zanosar can cause side effects. Common side effects may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and lowered blood cell counts. It’s important for patients to report any side effects to their healthcare team.
  • Follow-Up: Regular follow-up appointments with the oncologist are essential to monitor the patient’s response to treatment, adjust the dosage if necessary, and manage any side effects.

It’s crucial for patients to follow their healthcare provider’s instructions carefully and to communicate openly about any concerns or side effects experienced during treatment. Cancer treatments are highly individualized, and the specific plan may vary based on the patient’s health status and the type and stage of cancer being treated. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and information regarding Zanosar or any other medication.

Other uses for this medicine

Zanosar (streptozocin) is primarily used in the treatment of specific types of cancer, particularly pancreatic islet cell cancer (pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors) and metastatic carcinoid tumors. Its use in other conditions is limited, and any use outside its approved indications should be done under the careful guidance of a qualified healthcare professional.

What special precautions should I follow?

Here is special precautions for the use of Zanosar:

  • Medical History: Before starting Zanosar, it is important to provide a comprehensive medical history to the healthcare provider, including information about previous illnesses, surgeries, and other medications being taken.
  • Allergies: Inform the healthcare team about any known allergies, especially if there’s a history of hypersensitivity to streptozocin or similar drugs.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Zanosar may cause harm to a developing fetus. It is important to discuss pregnancy plans with the healthcare provider, and adequate contraception should be used during and for some time after treatment. Breastfeeding is not recommended during Zanosar treatment.
  • Kidney Function: Zanosar is excreted through the kidneys. Patients with impaired kidney function may require dosage adjustments or more frequent monitoring.
  • Blood Cell Counts: Zanosar can affect blood cell counts, leading to conditions such as leukopenia (low white blood cell count), thrombocytopenia (low platelet count), and anemia. Regular blood tests will be conducted to monitor these parameters.
  • Liver Function: Monitoring of liver function may be necessary, and dose adjustments may be required in patients with pre-existing liver conditions.
  • Diabetes: Zanosar can affect blood glucose levels, and diabetic patients may need adjustments in their diabetes management during and after treatment.
  • Neurological Effects: Zanosar may cause neurological side effects such as confusion, hallucinations, and seizures. Patients should report any unusual neurological symptoms promptly.
  • Infections: Zanosar can suppress the immune system, making patients more susceptible to infections. It’s important to avoid close contact with individuals who have contagious illnesses.
  • Peripheral Neuropathy: Peripheral neuropathy (damage to nerves outside the brain and spinal cord) is a potential side effect. Patients should report any signs of numbness, tingling, or weakness in the extremities.
  • Potential for Extravasation: Zanosar is administered intravenously, and there is a risk of tissue damage (extravasation) if the drug leaks into the surrounding tissues during administration. Proper administration techniques and monitoring are essential.

Patients should always follow their healthcare provider’s instructions and report any side effects, changes in health, or concerns during the course of treatment. The information provided here is not exhaustive, and specific precautions may vary based on individual patient characteristics and medical conditions. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

  • Hydration: It’s important to stay well-hydrated during Zanosar treatment. Drinking plenty of fluids can help flush the drug from the body and reduce the risk of kidney-related side effects.
  • Nutrition: Maintaining a well-balanced and nutritious diet is important during cancer treatment. Your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian can provide guidance on dietary choices that support your overall health.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

  • Contact Your Healthcare Provider: If you miss a scheduled dose of Zanosar, contact your healthcare provider immediately. They will provide guidance on whether the missed dose needs to be rescheduled or if adjustments to the treatment plan are necessary.
  • Do Not Double Dose: Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. Follow the instructions given by your healthcare provider.
  • Consistency is Key: It’s important to adhere to the prescribed schedule for Zanosar to maintain its effectiveness. Consistent administration is crucial for the success of chemotherapy treatment.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Zanosar (streptozocin) is a chemotherapy drug, and like many cancer treatments, it can cause side effects. The severity and specific side effects can vary from person to person. It’s important to note that healthcare providers carefully weigh the potential benefits of treatment against the risks and side effects when prescribing chemotherapy. Common side effects of Zanosar may include:

  • Nausea and Vomiting: These are common side effects of chemotherapy. Medications may be prescribed to help manage these symptoms.
  • Diarrhea: Zanosar can cause gastrointestinal disturbances, including diarrhea. Maintaining good hydration and discussing any severe or persistent diarrhea with your healthcare provider is important.
  • Loss of Appetite: Chemotherapy can affect the sense of taste and lead to a loss of appetite. Maintaining good nutrition during treatment is crucial, so discussing dietary strategies with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian is recommended.
  • Low Blood Cell Counts: Zanosar can affect the production of blood cells in the bone marrow. This can lead to:
    • Anemia: Low red blood cell count, which may cause fatigue and weakness.
    • Neutropenia: Low white blood cell count, increasing the risk of infection.
    • Thrombocytopenia: Low platelet count, which can lead to an increased risk of bleeding or bruising.
  • Kidney Toxicity: Streptozocin is primarily eliminated through the kidneys. It can cause kidney toxicity, and kidney function may need to be monitored during treatment.
  • Liver Function Changes: Zanosar may affect liver function, and liver enzyme levels may be monitored during treatment.
  • Injection Site Reactions: As Zanosar is administered intravenously, there may be reactions at the injection site, such as pain, redness, or swelling.
  • Flu-Like Symptoms: Some patients may experience flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, and muscle aches.
  • Allergic Reactions: While rare, allergic reactions to Zanosar can occur. Signs of an allergic reaction may include rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, or difficulty breathing.

It’s important to communicate any side effects or concerns with your healthcare provider promptly. They can provide guidance on managing side effects, adjusting the treatment plan if necessary, or prescribing additional medications to alleviate symptoms. Additionally, healthcare providers typically monitor patients closely during chemotherapy to catch and address potential issues early. If you experience severe or persistent side effects, seek medical attention promptly.

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

Storage and Disposal of Zanosar:

  • Storage:
    • Zanosar is typically provided by a healthcare professional in a healthcare setting.
    • If you have a supply of Zanosar at home for any reason, follow the storage instructions provided by your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
    • Store Zanosar at the recommended temperature, away from moisture and heat.
  • Disposal:
    • The disposal of chemotherapy drugs, including Zanosar, should be handled carefully. Follow specific disposal instructions provided by your healthcare provider or local guidelines.
    • Do not dispose of Zanosar in household trash. Contact your healthcare provider, clinic, or a local waste disposal service for guidance on proper disposal.

In case of emergency/overdose

In the event of a potential overdose or emergency, it’s essential to seek immediate medical attention. Contact your local poison control center (in the United States, the Poison Help line is 1-800-222-1222) or go to the nearest emergency room.

What other information should I know?

  • Regular Monitoring: During Zanosar treatment, regular monitoring of blood cell counts, kidney function, liver function, and other relevant parameters may be necessary. Attend all scheduled appointments and laboratory tests.
  • Follow-up Care: Keep all follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider. These appointments are essential for assessing the effectiveness of the treatment and managing any side effects.
  • Inform Healthcare Providers: Inform all healthcare providers involved in your care about the use of Zanosar, including dentists and specialists. They should be aware of your treatment plan to provide appropriate care.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, discuss these situations with your healthcare provider. Zanosar may have adverse effects on a developing fetus, and breastfeeding is generally not recommended during treatment.
  • Inform About Medications: Provide a complete list of all medications, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as any herbal supplements, to your healthcare provider. Some medications may interact with Zanosar.
  • Limit Exposure to Infections: Chemotherapy can weaken the immune system. Take precautions to limit exposure to infections, such as practicing good hand hygiene and avoiding close contact with sick individuals.
  • Report Side Effects: If you experience any side effects or adverse reactions, report them to your healthcare provider promptly. Do not stop or adjust the medication without consulting your healthcare team.

Always follow the specific instructions and guidance provided by your healthcare provider or pharmacist. The information provided here is a general overview and may not cover all individual circumstances. Your healthcare team is the best source of information regarding your treatment plan and any questions or concerns you may have.

Copyright © 2023