Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Allergic reactions: Allergic reactions, including difficulty breathing and swelling of the throat and mouth, can occur with the use of this medication. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
Blood clotting: This medication can reduce the number of platelet cells in the blood. Platelets help the blood to clot, and a shortage could make you bleed more easily. Tell your doctor of any signs that your blood is not clotting as quickly as usual. Such symptoms may include black and tarry stools, blood in the urine, easy bruising, or cuts that won't stop bleeding.
Infection: As well as killing cancer cells, etoposide can reduce the number of cells that fight infection in the body (white blood cells). If possible, avoid contact with people who have contagious infections. Tell your doctor if you begin to notice the signs of an infection such as fever or chills, severe diarrhea, shortness of breath, prolonged dizziness, headache, stiff neck, weight loss, or listlessness. Your doctor will do blood tests regularly to monitor the number of specific types of blood cells in your blood.
Kidney function: Etoposide can reduce kidney function. If you have kidney disease or reduced kidney function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, and how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication. Your doctor will routinely monitor your kidney function with blood tests.
Liver function: Etoposide can reduce liver function. If you have liver disease or reduced liver function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, and how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication. Your doctor will routinely monitor your kidney function with blood tests. Contact your doctor as soon as possible if you notice signs of decreased liver function, such as yellowing of the eyes and skin, dark urine, pale stools, or abdominal pain with nausea and vomiting.
Pregnancy: Etoposide can cause harm to the unborn baby when it is taken by pregnant women. It should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Etoposide can cause changes to sperm in men, decreasing fertility. Women and men receiving etoposide should use effective contraceptive methods.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking etoposide, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
The safety and effectiveness of using this medication for children have not been clearly established. It should only be prescribed or given by health care professionals familiar with the use of chemotherapy medications to treat cancer in children.