Lung Cancer Home > Hycamtin Warnings and Precautions

Before starting chemotherapy treatment with Hycamtin, tell your healthcare provider about any other medical conditions you may have, such as any kind of infection, any bleeding, or any allergies. Also, this medicine can cause drug interactions, so tell your healthcare provider about any other medicines you are taking. Precautions and warnings with Hycamtin also apply to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Hycamtin® (topotecan) if you have:
  • Any infection
  • Kidney disease, such as kidney failure (renal failure)
  • Any bleeding
  • A history of interstitial lung disease (ILD)
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Precautions and Warnings With Hycamtin

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking this drug include the following:
  • Hycamtin can decrease the bone marrow's ability to produce blood cells. This can result in anemia and other serious conditions. Because your immune system depends on certain blood cells, you may be more susceptible to infections while taking Hycamtin (see Chemotherapy and Infections). You may also be at a higher risk for bleeding (see Blood Clotting Problems and Chemotherapy). You will need regular blood tests to make sure your blood counts are not too low.
  • There have been reports of interstitial lung disease (ILD) in people taking Hycamtin. The risk appears to be greater in people with pulmonary fibrosis, lung cancer, radiation to the chest, or a history of ILD. Other medications or conditions that cause lung damage might also increase the risk of this problem with Hycamtin. Let your healthcare provider know if you develop any signs or symptoms of ILD, such as:
    • Coughing
    • Fever
    • Shortness of breath.
  • Let your healthcare provider know if you experience any diarrhea (even if minor) while taking this medication. Catching this problem early can help avoid serious and possibly life-threatening complications.
  • Like most chemotherapy medications, Hycamtin often causes nausea and vomiting. Your healthcare provider should consider giving you medications before and after your Hycamtin dose, in order to prevent and treat nausea and vomiting (see Chemotherapy and Nausea).
  • Hycamtin can interact with other medications (see Hycamtin Drug Interactions).
  • Hycamtin is considered a pregnancy Category D medication. This means that it is probably not safe for use during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using the drug during pregnancy (see Topotecan and Pregnancy).
  • It is unknown if Hycamtin passes through breast milk in humans. It is usually recommended that women should not breastfeed while receiving Hycamtin treatment (see Topotecan and Breastfeeding).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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