1 What is Hycamtin?

Brand: Hycamtin

Generic: Topotecan

Hycamtin belongs to a group of drugs called antineoplastic or anticancer drugs. It slows down the growth of cancer cells and kills them eventually.

It is used in the injection form for the treatment of patients with metastatic cancer of ovaries, especially when other treatments have been unsuccessful.

It is also used for other types of cancers including small cell lung cancer, cancer of the cervix, chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).

This product is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Powder for Solution
  • Solution

2 What To Know Before Using

Before using Hycamtin, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it. Your doctor will consider these risks before prescribing the drug and will inform you about them.

Following factors should be considered before taking this drug:


If you have had an allergic reaction to this drug in the past, inform your doctor. You should also tell your healthcare provider if you are allergic to any other drugs or food products.

Age-specific problems

The data regarding the effects of this medicine specific to the pediatric age group is not yet available. Its safety and efficacy have not been established in children.

The studies specific to the geriatric age group have not been carried out, therefore its safety and efficacy have not been established in older age group. However, geriatric population is more prone to having kidney, liver and heart problems.

Drug Interactions

Certain drugs should not be used together because they can interact inside the body which can have a harmful effect. On the other hand, certain drugs are allowed to be used together.

So, you should tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking. If there is a chance of interaction between those two drugs, the doctor may change the dose or may prescribe an alternative drug.

This medication should be used cautiously with the following drugs:

  • Adenovirus Vaccine Type 7, Live
  • Abiraterone
  • Adenovirus Vaccine Type 4, Live
  • Amiodarone
  • Bacillus of Calmette and Guerin Vaccine, Live
  • Azithromycin
  • Cabazitaxel
  • Captopril
  • Carvedilol
  • Carboplatin
  • Cisplatin
  • Cobicistat
  • Clarithromycin
  • Dabrafenib
  • Conivaptan
  • Dasabuvir
  • Dexamethasone
  • Dasatinib
  • Diethylstilbestrol
  • Doxorubicin
  • Diltiazem
  • Doxorubicin Hydrochloride Liposome
  • Dronedarone
  • Dronabinol
  • Eliglustat
  • Erlotinib
  • Eltrombopag
  • Estradiol
  • Erythromycin
  • Estrone
  • Filgrastim
  • Felodipine
  • Gefitinib
  • Hesperidin
  • Glyburide
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Imatinib
  • Itraconazole
  • Influenza Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Ivacaftor
  • Lansoprazole
  • Ketoconazole
  • Lomitapide
  • Measles Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Lopinavir
  • Mitoxantrone
  • Nelfinavir
  • Mumps Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Novobiocin
  • Nilotinib
  • Omeprazole
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Live
  • Pantoprazole
  • Pravastatin
  • Quercetin
  • Prazosin
  • Quinidine
  • Ranolazine
  • Rabeprazole
  • Ritonavir
  • Saquinavir
  • Rubella Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Simeprevir
  • Sorafenib
  • Smallpox Vaccine
  • Sulfasalazine
  • Tbo-Filgrastim
  • Sunitinib
  • Telaprevir
  • Ticagrelor
  • Telmisartan
  • Tocophersolan
  • Vandetanib
  • Typhoid Vaccine
  • Varicella Virus Vaccine
  • Yellow Fever Vaccine
  • Verapamil

Furthermore, certain medications should not be taken with alcohol or tobacco, which may also result in harmful interactions. Ask your doctor about the concurrent use of this drug along with alcohol or tobacco.

You should also inform your doctor about any other medical condition you may be suffering from, especially:

  • Kidney disease, moderate
  • Infection—May decreases your body's ability to fight infection.
  • Neutropenia (low white blood cells). May make these conditions worse.
  • Lung disease (eg, interstitial lung disease)

3 Proper Usage

Proper usage of Hycamtin requires strict adherence to your doctor’s orders. This medication is given through a needle in your veins. It should only be given under the supervision of a doctor by a nurse or a trained healthcare professional. 

This injection is usually given for 3 days or for 5 days and this is repeated after every 21 days until your body responds to the drug. It takes 30 minutes for one injection. This injection may cause nausea and vomiting. You should continue to take the medicine despite that.

4 Precautions To Take

Before using Hycamtin, there are some precautions you must take. This medication should not be used while you are pregnant because it can lead to serious birth defects in the fetus. Use an effective birth control method while you are on this drug.

A male patient’s child can also have birth defects if he is on this medicine. Your doctor will monitor the response to this medicine and look for any side effects. Therefore, regular follow-up is necessary during and after the treatment. 

Do not have any vaccination while you are on this drug, without the approval of your doctor. This drug can lower your body’s resistance to infection due to a reduction in white blood cell count. So, avoid contact with people having some kind of infection and maintain good hygiene.

This drug can also cause nausea and vomiting, like other chemotherapeutic drugs. Make sure that you continue to take the course even after that. It can also cause hair loss.

Avoid taking any other medicine unless thoroughly discussed with your doctor. Always ask your doctor before using any prescription, non-prescription or herbal medicine.

5 Potential Side Effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Hycamtin. Although these side effects may occur only in a handful of patients, but if they do occur, contact your physician immediately.

This medication is associated with the following side effects:

  • Black, tarry stools
  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • Cough or hoarseness (accompanied by fever or chills)
  • Blood in the urine or stools
  • Lower back or side pain (accompanied by fever or chills)
  • Fever or chills
  • Painful or difficult urination (accompanied by fever or chills)
  • Troubled breathing
  • Pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Changes in the skin color of the face
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Large, hive-like swellings on the face, eyelids, mouth, lips, or tongue
  • Fast or irregular breathing
  • Skin rash, hives, or itching
  • Puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Bleeding gums
  • Dizziness
  • Skin rash or itching, severe
  • Fast heartbeat

Seek medical help instantly, if you experience any of these symptoms while on this drug. Also contact your health care professional immediately, if you have overdosed on this drug. If any of these side effects becomes more bothersome or does not go away, contact your doctor.