Font Size

Understanding Lung Cancer Medications (cont.)

Podophyllin Alkaloids

Etoposide (Toposar, VePesid) is a podophyllin alkaloid often used to treat lung cancer.

  • Who should not use these medications: Persons with an allergy to etoposide should not take it.
  • Schedule: Scheduling of etoposide doses is important. Current recommendations are to give etoposide by an injection over a 1- to 3-day period in the chemotherapy cycle. The drug may not be given by intrathecal injection (that is, into a cavity within the brain).
  • Drug or food interactions: Etoposide may delay the effects of blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), or platelet (cells in blood that help clotting) inhibitors, such as aspirin. The risk of etoposide further reducing blood cell counts and causing anemia or bleeding may increase when it is used with other chemotherapy drugs. Cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral) and zidovudine (Combivir, Retrovir) increase toxicity of etoposide.
  • Side effects: Etoposide may cause a person to bleed or to develop infections more easily. A doctor will check blood and urine for abnormalities that may be caused by these drugs.
    • A doctor should be contacted immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
      • Unexplained fever, chills, or sore throat
      • Wheezing or trouble breathing
      • Unusual bleeding or bruising
      • Bloody urine, bowel movement, or vomit
      • Yellowing of skin or eyes
      • Redness, pain, or swelling where the IV is given
      • Dizziness or faintness while the medicine is being given
    • Other side effects include the following:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/9/2014
Medical Author:
Medical Editor:
Medical Editor:
Medical Editor:

Must Read Articles Related to Understanding Lung Cancer Medications

Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer
Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Cancers are diseases in which normal cells transform so that they grow and multiply without normal controls. In many types of cancer, this results in the growth...learn more >>
Small-Cell Lung Cancer
Small-Cell Lung Cancer When cells of the lung start growing rapidly in an uncontrolled manner, the condition is called lung cancer. Lung cancer can affect any part of the lung. Small-...learn more >>

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Lung Cancer, Oat Cell (Small Cell): Treatment & Medication »

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) differs from other lung cancer types because of its rapid growth and propensity for early dissemination.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary