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Irinotecan HCl intraven.

Important Note

The following information is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. It should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. Consult your healthcare professional before using this drug.




WARNING: Irinotecan can cause severe diarrhea, both early in treatment and 24 hours or more after receiving this drug. The early form of diarrhea may be accompanied by runny nose, increased salivation, tearing eyes, sweating, stomach cramps, or flushing. Using atropine can help with these side effects. The later form of diarrhea (after 24 hours) can persist and may lead to vitamin and mineral imbalances that could be fatal if untreated. Your doctor will give you loperamide for this form of diarrhea. Use the loperamide exactly as directed. You may also be given fluid, vitamin and mineral replacements. Your doctor may temporarily stop irinotecan if severe diarrhea continues. It may be restarted later at a lower dose. Irinotecan can also cause bone marrow suppression, which can decrease your ability to fight infections or cause bleeding problems. Notify your doctor immediately if your develop signs of infection such as persistent sore throat or fever; or unusual fatigue, or easy bruising or bleeding.


This medication is used to treat colon or rectal cancer.

How To Use

This drug is given by vein (IV), generally over a 90 minute period. Dosing is based on your condition and response to therapy. Frequently, drugs to treat nausea are prescribed before and after this drug is given. Follow all doctor and pharmacist instructions carefully.

Side Effects

Flushing may occur. If this persists or worsens, notify your doctor. Also see Warning section. Report immediately any diarrhea occurring within the first day of the drug injection. Symptoms are serious and include stomach cramping, sweating and loose stools (with or without blood). Another form of diarrhea can occur later, (more than one day after the dose), can last longer and is very, very serious. Dehydration (too little water in the body) can occur. Symptoms of dehydration include decreased urine amount and low blood pressure. This later form of diarrhea is treated immediately with loperamide as directed by your doctor. Have this medication on hand. Seek immediate medical attention if you cannot reach your doctor promptly. Report immediately: redness or swelling at the injection site, black or bloody stools, nausea or vomiting, dizziness or fainting, persistent sore throat, fever, shortness of breath, rash. Very unlikely but report immediately: unusual bleeding or bruising, unusual change in the amount of urine, chest pain, pain in the groin or lower legs. Hair loss may occur. Frequently this is temporary. Discuss any concerns with your doctor or pharmacist. An allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: severe rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, trouble breathing. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.


Before using this drug, tell your doctor your medical history, including: allergies (especially drug allergies), history of radiation treatments, diabetes, liver disease, lung disease. Use of laxatives should be avoided since this drug may cause diarrhea. Limit alcohol intake since it may aggravate side effects. To avoid dizziness and lightheadedness when rising from a seated or lying position, get up slowly. This medication must not be used during pregnancy because it may cause fetal harm. Use a reliable form of birth control while you are using this drug to avoid becoming pregnant. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. It is not known whether this drug is excreted into breast milk. Because of the potential risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding. Caution is advised when this drug is used in the elderly.

Drug Interactions

Tell your doctor of all nonprescription and prescription medication you may use, especially of: other anti-cancer drugs, laxatives, "water pills" (diuretics), drugs that treat diabetes. Do not start or stop any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval.


If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately.


Do not share this medication with others. Laboratory tests will be performed periodically to monitor for effectiveness and side effects of this drug.

Missed Dose

It is very important to receive all scheduled doses. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor promptly to set up a new dosing schedule.


Store at room temperature between 59 and 86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) away from light and moisture.

Medical Alert

Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For enrollment information call MedicAlert at 1-800-854-1166 (USA), or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).