Camptosar is an injected medication that should only be administered by a doctor with experience providing chemotherapy treatments related to cancer. While receiving Camptosar injections, you will be closely monitored by the doctor administering your treatments. To check your body’s response to Camptosar, your doctor will order periodic tests, including blood tests.
Indications: Camptosar is a medication used during chemotherapy treatments for cancer that begins in the large intestine, namely colon or rectal cancer. Also known as Irinotacan, Camptosar is an antineoplastic medication that is part of the drug class known as topoisomerase I inhibitors. These are drugs used to stop the growth of cancer cells. Camptosar comes in a liquid form that is injected into a vein (intravenously). A doctor or nurse will administer the injections to you on a treatment schedule that has been arranged in accordance with your doctor’s orders. A Camptosar treatment is usually given not more than once a week; the week you receive this treatment may alternative with a week when you do not receive a treatment. Your doctor will monitor your progress and the effects of the medication to determine the course of your treatment. A regular and carefully monitored course of treatment is very important.
Dosage: As was stated above, Camptosar will always be administered by a health care professional, such as a nurse or doctor. The dosage you receive will be determined based on your current medical condition, reaction to the drug, and your body size. Each dose is administered intravenously according to a treatment schedule set by your doctor. Administering a Camptosar treatment on your own is not recommended; a doctor or nurse’s supervision is required for you to receive the proper Camptosar treatment.
Overdose: the fact that Camptosar is administered in hospital by medical professionals, the risk of overdose is greatly reduced; however, it can happen. Camptosar overdose often causes severe headache and reinforces the toxic effects of the medication. If you suspect that you are suffering from an overdose, contact your doctor immediately. There is no known antidote for Camptosar overdose; however, your physician can intervene and prevent complications.
Hours after receiving a Camptosar injection, you may experience runny nose, increased saliva, shrinking pupils, watery eyes, sweating, flushing, diarrhea or mild stomach cramps; this does not mean you are overdosed. Most patients experience those side effects.
Contraindication: Camptosar (Irinotacan) is contraindicated if you are affected by any of the following conditions: Chronic lung disease, blocked bowels with no movement, acute inflammation of the pancreas, a woman who is producing milk and breastfeeding, anemia, decreased blood platelets, and other conditions. Be sure to discuss all your health concerns with your doctor to avoid potentially harmful complications.
Interactions: Though it is not possible to list all drugs with which Camptosar may potentially interact with, there are some that you should be aware of in particular. First, any drug that affects liver enzymes to remove irinotacan from your body should not be taken while using Camptosar. Drugs such as rifamycins including rifabutin, antiseizure medications including Phenobarbital and phenytoin, water pills and diuretics, and laxatives should all be avoided unless otherwise instructed by your doctor. If you are taking St. John’s wort, you should discontinue doing so at least two weeks before starting your Camptosar treatments. The medication ketoconzole should not be taken, either. And finally, avoid food that contains curcumin/turmeric. Taking any of these while also taking Camptosar may decrease the medication’s effectiveness.
Side effects: by stopping the growth of cancer cells, Camptosar also interfere with your healthy cells that multiply quickly; this often cause adverse effects. Common Camptosar side effects include:
- Perte des cheveux
- weight loss
- nausea and vomiting
- decreased appetite
- formation of sores in the mouth
- Bowel disorders (constipation or diarrhea).
Although rare, Camptosar can cause serious side effects which require immediate medical attention; contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- painful or difficulty swallowing
- yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)
- skin disorders such as rash, hives or itching
- Swelling of your arms, feet, ankles, or lower legs.