Dactinomycin (Injection)

Introduction

Dactinomycin (dak-tin-oh-MYE-sin)

Treats different types of cancer.

Brand Name(s)

Cosmegen

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

Do not receive this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to dactinomycin or if you are pregnant. You should not receive this medicine if you have chickenpox or shingles (herpes zoster).

How to Use This Medicine

Injectable

  • Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins.
  • You will receive this medicine while you are in a hospital or cancer treatment center. A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
  • Do not get this medicine in your eyes or on your skin. This medicine can be very harmful if it touches these areas or if it leaks out of the injection. If any of the medicine gets in your eyes, wash the eyes with water, saline, or a balanced salt irrigating eye solution for at least 15 minutes and check with your doctor right away. If any of the medicine gets in your skin, wash the affected part with water for at least 15 minutes and remove contaminated clothes and shoes. Check with your doctor right away. Destroy the contaminated clothes and clean the shoes thoroughly before you wear them again.

If a dose is missed:

  • This medicine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss a dose, call your doctor, home health caregiver, or treatment clinic for instructions.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you receive other cancer medicines or treatments, including radiation.
  • Talk to your doctor before getting flu shots or other vaccines while you are receiving this medicine. Vaccines may not work as well, or they could make you ill while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are breastfeeding or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, or any type of infection. Tell your doctor if you have been treated with radiation. Your doctor should know if you have recently been exposed to chickenpox or herpes.
  • This medicine may increase your risk of other tumors (including leukemia). Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about this.
  • This medicine lowers the number of some types of blood cells in your body. Because of this, you may bleed or get infections more easily. To help with these problems, avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Wash your hands often. Stay away from rough sports or other situations where you could be bruised, cut, or injured. Brush and floss your teeth gently. Be careful when using sharp objects, including razors and fingernail clippers.
  • Tell your doctor right away if you notice any redness, pain, or swelling at the injection site.
  • Cancer medicines can cause nausea and/or vomiting in most people, sometimes even after receiving medicines to prevent it. Ask your doctor or nurse about other ways to control these side effects.
  • Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect the results of certain medical tests.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, or red skin rash
  • Burning, pain, redness, swelling, blistering, or skin changes where the needle is placed
  • Dark-colored urine or pale stools
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or upper stomach pain
  • Swelling, painful sores, or white patches in your mouth or throat
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness
  • Yellow skin or eyes

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Mild nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite
  • Mild skin rash or itching
  • Trouble swallowing

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: September 18, 2013

         
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