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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Cosmegen

Generic Name: dactinomycin (Pronunciation: DAK tin oh MYE sin)

What is dactinomycin (Cosmegen)?

Dactinomycin is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Dactinomycin is used to treat different types of cancers that affect the kidneys, uterus, testicles, bones, muscles, joints, and soft tissues. Dactinomycin is also used to treat solid tumors.

Dactinomycin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of dactinomycin (Cosmegen)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • pain, swelling, burning, irritation, or skin changes where the injection was given;
  • fever, chills, body aches, diarrhea, flu symptoms, sores in your mouth and throat;
  • swelling or tenderness in your upper stomach, weight gain, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • feeling short of breath, urinating less than usual or not at all;
  • chest pain, dry cough, wheezing;
  • pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating;
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
  • any wound that will not heal; or
  • redness or your skin or the inside of your mouth and throat (if you are also receiving radiation treatment).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, loss of appetite;
  • tired feeling, muscle pain;
  • rectal pain or bleeding;
  • numbness or tingly feeling around your mouth, fast or slow heart rate, muscle tightness or contraction, overactive reflexes;
  • hair loss;
  • dry or cracked skin, chapped lips; or
  • acne, mild skin rash.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about dactinomycin (Cosmegen)?

Do not use dactinomycin if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby.

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using dactinomycin, and avoid coming into contact with anyone who has recently received a live vaccine. There is a chance that the virus could be passed on to you. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), oral polio, rotavirus, smallpox, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), H1N1 influenza, and nasal flu vaccine.

You should not receive dactinomycin if you are allergic to it, or if you have recently had chickenpox or herpes zoster (shingles).

To make sure you can safely use dactinomycin, tell your doctor if you have recently received radiation treatment for Wilms' tumor.

Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when dactinomycin is injected.

Dactinomycin can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections. Your blood may need to be tested often. Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.



Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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