Disease Information & Support


The Word:


Generic name Topotecan
Pronunciation toh-poh-TEE-kan
Brand name(s), other common name(s) Hycamtin®
Drug type  DNA-repair enzyme inhibitor
How the drug is given Intravenously (IV)

Topotecan is an FDA-approved cancer drug that is used to treat people who have certain types of cancer including acute myeloid leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. This drug may cause a temporary loss of hair in some people. After treatment with topotecan has ended, normal hair growth should return.

Side effects needing medical attention: Black, tarry stools; blood in urine or stools; cough or hoarseness (accompanied by fever or chills); fever or chills; lower back or side pain (accompanied by fever or chills); painful or difficult urination (accompanied by fever or chills); pinhead-sized red spots on skin or rash, hives and/or itching; shortness of breath, troubled breathing or fast or irregular breathing; unusual bleeding or bruising; large, hive-like swellings on the face, eyelids, mouth, lips and/or tongue; puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes; tightness in chest or wheezing; unusual tiredness or weakness; changes in the skin color of the face.

Side effects needing medical attention after stopping this medication: Abdominal or stomach pain; burning or tingling in hands or feet; constipation; diarrhea; fatigue; headache; loss of appetite; muscle weakness; nausea or vomiting; sores, ulcers or white spots on lips or tongue or inside the mouth.


For information on how to manage the costs of drug therapy, please see Financial Matters and Prescription Drug Coverage, or to speak with an Information Specialist, call (800) 955-4572.

last updated on Tuesday, October 16, 2012