Dactinomycin (Cosmegen)

The basics

Dactinomycin (brand name-Cosmegen) is an FDA-approved treatment for Wilms’ tumor (a type of kidney cancer that occurs in children) and rhabdomyosarcoma (cancer that forms in muscles) in children. It is also beneficial in combination with other medications to treat certain types of testicular cancer and Ewing’s sarcoma (a type of cancer in bones or muscles), and gestational trophoblastic tumors (a type of tumor that forms inside a woman’s uterus while she is pregnant).

Dactinomycin is a type of antibiotic that is only useful in cancer chemotherapy. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells in your body.

Let us walk you through the key things you need to know about dactinomycin.

Make sure you read IMPORTANT WARNING section at the end of this article.

How should I take dactinomycin (Cosmegen)?

Patient getting IV chemotherapy

Dactinomycin is injected into a vein by a doctor or nurse in a medical facility. The length of treatment depends on the type of cancer you have, the types of other drugs you are taking, and how well your body responds to treatment.

Dactinomycin may also be injected by a doctor directly into a specific the part of the body or the organ to treat the area where a tumor is located.

Do not stop taking treatment without talking to your doctor. You can help them by tracking your side effects in Ankr.

What are the side effects of dactinomycin (Cosmegen)?

Common side effects

Serious side effects

Dactinomycin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication. If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

Use the free Ankr platform or Ankr app to track your symptoms.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before receiving dactinomycin (Cosmegen)

  • tell your doctor about your allergies
  • tell your doctor about other intakes
  • tell your doctor if you have or ever had any disease, symptom, or treatment
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. You should not become pregnant or breast-feed while you are receiving dactinomycin.

While you are on dactinomycin (Cosmegen)

  • If you become pregnant while receiving dactinomycin, call your doctor. Dactinomycin may harm the fetus.
  • do not have any vaccinations without talking to your doctor.

In case of an emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.

Symptoms of overdose may include the following:

Brand names

  • Cosmegen®

Other names

  • Actinomycin

Last Revised – 06/30/2023, FDA updated-01/15/2012, SG

Dactinomycin injection must be given in a hospital or medical facility under the supervision of a doctor who is experienced in giving chemotherapy medications for cancer.

Dactinomycin should be administered only into a vein. However, it may leak into surrounding tissue causing severe irritation or damage. Your doctor or nurse will monitor your administration site for this reaction. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: pain, itching, redness, swelling, blisters, or sores in the place where the medication was injected.

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DISCLAIMER: No part of this content constitutes medical advice, opinion, or should be used for medical decision making without consultation with a licenced medical practitioner and under a patient-provider relationship. All information on the website is provided without any claims of accuracy. For full terms and conditions, visit this link. Content curated by the Ankr team.

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