Irinotecan Side Effects
What should I watch for?
Your condition will be monitored carefully while you are receiving this medicine. You will need important blood work done while you are taking this medicine.
This drug may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon, as chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment even though you feel ill unless your doctor tells you to stop.
In some cases, you may be given additional medicines to help with side effects. Follow all directions for their use.
You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells.
Call your doctor or health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. This drug decreases your body's ability to fight infections. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.
This medicine may increase your risk to bruise or bleed. Call your doctor or health care professional if you notice any unusual bleeding.
Be careful brushing and flossing your teeth or using a toothpick because you may get an infection or bleed more easily. If you have any dental work done, tell your dentist you are receiving this medicine.
Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine.
Common and Rare Side Effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
black, tarry stools
blood in the urine or stools
changes in skin color
chest pain or discomfort
chest tightness or heaviness
clay colored stools
cold hands and feet
cough or hoarseness
diarrhea with or without stomach cramps or sweating
fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
full or bloated feeling or pressure in the stomach
increased production of saliva
increased tear production
lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
loss of appetite
low blood pressure or pulse
lower back or side pain
nausea or vomiting
numbness or tingling in the face, arms, or legs
pain in the chest, groin, or legs, especially calves of the legs
pain in the shoulders, arms, jaw, or neck
painful or difficult urination
pinpoint red spots on the skin
redness or swelling of the leg
severe headache of sudden onset
shortness of breath or troubled breathing
stopping of the heart
sudden and severe weakness in the arm or leg on one side of the body
sudden loss of coordination
sudden vision changes
swelling of the abdomen or stomach area
tenderness, pain, or swelling of the arm, foot, or leg
trouble with speaking or walking
ulcers, sores, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
unpleasant breath odor
unusual bleeding or bruising
unusual tiredness or weakness
vomiting of blood
warm, red feeling over the body
yellow eyes or skin
coughing up blood
difficulty with swallowing
dryness of the mouth
increased menstrual flow or vaginal bleeding
prolonged bleeding from cuts
Decreased amount of urine
decreased frequency of urination
fast, irregular, or troubled breathing
increased blood pressure
puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
rapid weight gain
Incidence not known
Abdominal or stomach pain and tenderness
bloated or full feeling
burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
heartburn or indigestion
muscle pain and cramps
pain in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
pain or discomfort in the arms, jaw, back, or neck
severe abdominal or stomach cramping or burning
severe and continuing nausea
swelling of the face, lower legs, ankles, fingers, or hands
tightness in the chest
unusual tiredness or weakness
vomiting of material that looks like coffee grounds
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
Acid or sour stomach
blistering, peeling, redness, or swelling of the palms of hands or bottoms of the feet
excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
numbness, pain, tingling, or unusual sensations in the palms of hands or bottoms of feet
right upper abdominal or stomach pain and fullness
sensation of spinning
sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
unable to sleep
Incidence not known
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.