Toposar® (There may be other brand names for this medication)
How is it Administered?
This drug is given intravenously, which means it will be injected through a tube placed in a vein, usually in your arm, wrist, hand or chest.
What is it Used For?
This drug is used to treat cancers of the lung, testicles, bladder, prostate, and stomach, as well as lymphomas, leukemia, brain tumors; and sarcomas, among others.
How Does it Work?
Cancer is a group of diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control. Your chemotherapy schedule is based upon the type of cancer you have, how quickly the cancer cells reproduce, and the reproductive phase(s) during which each drug is most effective. This is why chemotherapy is typically given in cycles.
Etoposide is a type of plant alkaloid called a podopyllotoxin (or topoisomerase inhibitor). The faster cells are reproducing, the more likely it is that chemotherapy will damage/kill the cells. Unfortunately, some of our normal cells reproduce rapidly as well, and it is these cells that are most likely to be affected. (The cells that line the mouth, stomach, and intestines; hair follicles; and blood cells).
These normal cells will eventually grow back and be healthy. During treatment, however, you may experience side effects including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, mouth sores, hair loss, and decreased blood counts. Low blood counts may cause fatigue, anemia, and a significant decrease in your ability to fight off infections.