Etoposide or VP-16 is a drug to treat lung cancer, a type of small cell lung cancer (SCLC). In addition, this drug can also be used to treat testicular cancer.

Etoposide works by inhibiting DNA replication from cancer cells, thereby slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells. This medicine will be given directly by a doctor or medical officer under the supervision of a doctor.

Etoposide trademark:  Etopul

What is etoposide

class Prescription drug
Category Anticancer drug
Benefit Treating small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and testicular cancer
Consumed by Mature
Etoposide for pregnant and lactating women Category D:  There is positive evidence of risk to the human fetus, but the benefits may outweigh the risks, for example in dealing with a life-threatening situation.

Etoposide can be absorbed into breast milk. If you are breastfeeding, do not use this medicine without consulting your doctor first.

Drug form Injections and capsules

Warning Before Using Etoposide

The following are some things you need to pay attention to before using etoposide:

  • Tell your doctor about any history of allergies you have. Etoposide should not be used by patients who are allergic to this drug.
  • Tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, liver disease , or a blood disorder, such as anemia , leukopenia, or thrombocytopenia .
  • Tell your doctor if you have ever had chemotherapy or radiotherapy .
  • Tell your doctor if you plan to get vaccinated while on etoposide.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy. Use birth control to prevent pregnancy while being treated with etoposide.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking certain medications, supplements or herbal products.
  • Do not drive a vehicle or do activities that require alertness while being treated with etoposide, because this drug can cause dizziness and blurred vision.
  • As much as possible, avoid close contact with people with infectious diseases that are easily transmitted, such as the flu, while undergoing treatment with etoposide, because it can increase your risk of contracting it.
  • See your doctor immediately if you have an allergic drug reaction , serious side effects, or overdose after using etoposide.

Dosage and Rules for Use Etoposide

The dose of etoposide varies for each patient. The doctor will give the dose and determine the duration of treatment according to the patient's condition. The following is the distribution of etoposide doses based on drug form, body surface area (LPT), and the condition you want to treat:

IV injection form

  • Condition: Lung cancer type small cell lung cancer (SCLC)
    The dose is 35 mg/m2 LPT, given by IV injection for 4 days, or 50 mg/m2, given by IV injection for 5 days. Dosage can be repeated every 3–4 weeks after the patient's condition improves.
  • Condition: Testicular cancer
    The dose is 50–100 mg/m2 LPT, given by IV injection over 1–5 days, or 100 mg/m2, given by IV injection on days 1, 3, and 5. The dose may be repeated every 3–4 weeks after the patient's condition improved.

Capsule Shape

  • Conditions: Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) lung cancer.
    The dose is 50 mg per day.

How to Use Etoposide Properly

Follow the doctor 's recommendations and read the information printed on the drug packaging before taking etoposide capsules. Do not increase or decrease your dose without consulting your doctor first.

Take etoposide capsules regularly at the same time every day. Etoposide can be consumed before or after meals with the help of a glass of water. Swallow the medication whole, do not chew or crush it.

If you forget to take etoposide, consume it immediately if the break with the next consumption schedule is not too close. If it's close, ignore it and don't double the dose.

Injectable etoposide should only be given by a doctor or medical officer under the supervision of a doctor. The doctor or medical personnel will give etoposide by injection into a vein (IV/intravenously). The dose of etoposide injection will be adjusted according to the patient's condition.

Carry out routine controls according to doctor's recommendations while undergoing treatment with etoposide. Do not stop using etoposide without consulting your doctor first.

While on treatment with etoposide, you may be asked to have your blood pressure checked, complete blood test, or checked for indicators of blood clotting factors, such as INR.

Store etoposide capsules in a dry, closed place, and avoid direct sunlight. Keep this drug out of reach of children.

Etoposide Interactions with Other Drugs

The following are a number of interaction effects that can occur when using etoposide with other drugs:

  • Increased etoposide blood levels and risk of side effects when used with abametapir, lonafarnib, ciclosporin or nefazodone
  • Decreased levels and effectiveness of etoposide when used with apalutamide or enzalutamide drugs
  • Decreased effectiveness and increased risk of infection from live vaccines, such as influenza vaccines

Side Effects and Dangers of Etoposide

Some of the side effects that may occur after using etoposide are:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unusual dizziness or tiredness
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • For injectable etoposide, pain or redness may occur at the injection site

Check with your doctor if the side effects above don't go away or get worse. Immediately see a doctor if an allergic drug reaction or more serious side effects occur, such as:

  • Pain when swallowing or difficulty swallowing
  • Visual disturbances, such as blurred vision or eye pain
  • Easy bruising and black or bloody bowel movements
  • Tingling  or numbness in the arms or legs
  • Liver disease characterized by symptoms such as jaundice , severe abdominal pain, dark urine
  • An infectious disease characterized by symptoms such as fever, sore throat or cough that does not improve
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