Why is it prescribed?

Topotecan is used to treat sensitive small cell lung cancer after failure of first-line chemotherapy (defined as recurrence at least 60 days after first-line chemotherapy).

Products that have this ingredient include •Topotecan Injection •

See other drugs used in the treatment of •small cell lung cancer •

More common side effects that do not require medical attention unless bothersome:

  • appetite loss
  • burning or tingling in the hands or feet
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • nausea and vomiting
  • redness or bruising at site of the injection
  • temporary hair loss
  • weakness

Contact your doctor if any of the following side effects occur:

  • abdominal or stomach pain
  • sores or white spots on the lips, tongue, or inside the mouth
  • unusual fatigue or weakness

The following side effects could indicate serious complications. Seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • black or tarry stools or blood in urine
  • cough or hoarseness with fever or chills
  • fever or chills
  • irregular or fast breathing
  • large welts on the face, eyelids, mouth, lips, or tongue
  • lower back or side pain with fever or chills
  • painful or difficult urination with fever or chills
  • pinpoint red spots on skin
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes
  • shortness of breath
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • wheezing or tightness in chest


Topotecan belongs to the group of cancer-fighting medications known as antineoplastics. It kills cancer cells by interfering with the genetic material DNA, which is necessary for their growth and reproduction.

  • Do not take topotecan if:
  • you have severe kidney disease.
  • you have severe bone marrow depression
  • For both men and women: Do not conceive a child (get pregnant) while taking topotecan. Barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms, are recommended. Discuss with your doctor when you may safely become pregnant or conceive a child after therapy.

Drug interactions: There may be an interaction between topotecan and any of the following:

  • amiodarone
  • atorvastatin
  • carvedilol
  • cisplatin
  • clarithromycin
  • clozapine
  • cobicistat
  • cyclosporine
  • denosumab
  • dipyridamole
  • echinacea
  • erythromycin
  • filgrastim
  • gefitinib
  • grapefruit juice
  • imatimib
  • itraconazole
  • ketoconazole
  • leflunomide
  • live vaccines (e.g., yellow fever, BCG, measles - mumps - rubella [MMR])
  • mefloquine
  • natalizumab
  • pantoprazole
  • phenytoin
  • pimecrolimus or tacrolimus
  • progesterone
  • propranolol
  • protease inhibitors (e.g., atazanavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir)
  • quinine and quinidine
  • roflumilast
  • tamoxifen
  • verapamil

Use in pregnancy:  There is a possibility of birth defects with topotecan. Effective birth control should be practiced while using this medication. 

Use in breastfeeding: It is not known if topotecan passes into breast milk. At this time, breastfeeding is not recommended.





Page Last Updated: 25/11/2015