Irinotecan is an antitumor drug that interferes with how cancer
cells multiply. The dose is based on your body size. The type and extent of a
cancer determines the exact dose and schedule for using this drug. Irinotecan
intravenous (IV) drug.
Irinotecan is used to treat cancer of the cervix, colon, or rectum.
It may also be used to treat non–small-cell lung cancer.
Irinotecan is an effective antitumor drug for many
people. But the type and extent of a cancer determines how
effectively this drug slows or stops the growth of cancer cells in the
body. Irinotecan is often used in combination with other chemotherapy
drugs, making the other drugs more effective than they are by
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
Call your doctor if you have:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference
is not available in all systems.)
Irinotecan may cause kidney or liver problems and low blood counts. Your doctor will check and closely watch you for these problems and monitor your blood counts.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant. If you need to use this medicine, talk to your doctor about how you can prevent pregnancy.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
CitationsLibutti SK, et al. (2011). Cancer of the colon. In VT DeVita Jr. et al., eds., DeVita, Hellman and Rosenberg's Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology, 9th ed., pp. 1084–1126. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
September 5, 2012
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Kenneth Bark, MD - Surgery, Colon and Rectal
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.