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What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving irinotecan (Camptosar)?
You should not use irinotecan if you are allergic to it.
To make sure you can safely receive irinotecan, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
It is not known whether irinotecan passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using irinotecan.
How is irinotecan given (Camptosar)?
Your doctor may recommend a DNA test before your first dose of irinotecan. Some people are genetically more likely to have certain side effects from irinotecan.
Irinotecan is injected into a vein through an IV. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. Irinotecan must be given slowly, and the IV infusion can take up to 90 minutes to complete.
You may be given other medications to prevent nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other side effects while you are receiving irinotecan. You may need to keep using these medications for at least a day after your irinotecan injection.
Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when irinotecan is injected.
If any of the medicine gets on your skin, wash right away with soap and water.
Irinotecan can cause severe diarrhea, which can occur soon after your injection or more than 24 hours later. You can easily become dehydrated if you have ongoing diarrhea. You may also develop a severe infection or a serious electrolyte imbalance.
Your doctor may recommend you have an anti-diarrhea medicine such as loperamide (Imodium) available at all times while you are receiving irinotecan. Take the anti-diarrhea medication at the first sign of loose or frequent bowel movements.
Call your doctor if you still have diarrhea after 24 hours of taking anti-diarrhea medicine. Do not take loperamide for longer than 2 full days without your doctor's advice.
To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood may need to be tested often. Your kidney or liver function may also need to be tested. Visit your doctor regularly.
If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using irinotecan.
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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