Why is carboplatin and etoposide prescribed?
Etoposide is in a class of medications called podophyllotoxin derivatives. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells in your body. Carboplatin is in a class of medications known as platinum-containing compounds. It works by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells.
How should carboplatin and etoposide be used?
You will be given carboplatin and etoposide in the chemotherapy day unit. A chemotherapy nurse will give it to you.
Your nurse will give you anti-sickness (anti-emetic) drugs before the chemotherapy. The chemotherapy drugs can be given through:
- a short thin tube the nurse puts into a vein in your arm or hand (cannula)
- a fine tube that goes under the skin of your chest and into a vein close by (central line)
- a fine tube that is put into a vein in your arm and goes up into a vein in your chest (PICC line).
Your nurse will give you carboplatin as a drip (infusion) over 30 to 60 minutes. Etoposide will be given as a drip for over an hour,
You can also take etoposide as capsules.
If you are taking etoposide as capsules, the nurse or pharmacist will give you these to take at home. Always take them exactly as explained. This is important to make sure they work as well as possible. Take them whole with a glass of water. They should not be chewed, opened, or crushed. Take them at the same time every day. You should take them on an empty stomach. This means either 1 hour before food or 2 hours after food.
If you forget to take the capsules, you should take the missed dose as soon as possible within the same day. If a full day has gone by, tell your doctor or nurse. Do not take a double dose unless your doctor tells you to.
Other things to remember about your capsules:
- Wash your hands after taking your capsules.
- Other people should avoid direct contact with the chemotherapy drugs.
- Keep them in the original package and at room temperature, away from heat and direct sunlight.
- Keep them safe and out of sight and reach of children.
- If you are sick just after taking the capsules, contact the hospital. Do not take another dose.
- If your treatment is stopped, return any unused capsules to the pharmacist.
What side effects can carboplatin and etoposide cause?
Carboplatin and etoposide may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
SERIOUS SIDE EFFECTS
If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
Nervous system damage
In case of emergency/overdose
Contact your doctor or nurse immediately if you have signs of infection, including a temperature above 37.5C or below 36C.
What other information should I know?
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. Bring this list each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
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