Lung Cancer Home > Hycamtin

Hycamtin is prescribed for the treatment of various types of cancer. Specifically, the oral capsule form of this medication is used to treat lung cancer, and the intravenous form is used to treat lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and cervical cancer. Hycamtin is designed to cause excess strain in the DNA. Possible side effects include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

What Is Hycamtin?

Hycamtin® (topotecan) is a prescription chemotherapy medication. The oral version of this medication is approved to treat lung cancer, and the intravenous (IV) form is approved to treat lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and cervical cancer.
 
(Click Hycamtin Uses for more information on what the medication is used for, including possible off-label uses.)
 

Who Makes Hycamtin?

Hycamtin is made by GlaxoSmithKline.
 

How Does It Work?

Hycamtin 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. Hycamtin interferes with this process, preventing the DNA from unwinding and causing excess DNA strain.
 

When and How to Use Hycamtin

Some general considerations include the following:
 
  • Hycamtin comes in both injectable and oral capsule form.
     
  • Hycamtin 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 Hycamtin capsules. Do not handle capsules that are damaged in any way.
     
  • If you vomit a dose of Hycamtin capsules, you should not "make up" the dose by taking extra, although you should let your healthcare provider know.
     
  • Hycamtin 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 in many cases, the side effects that occur limit a person's ability to stay on schedule with the full dose.
     
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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