Irinotecan review

Irinotecan is a type of chemotherapy medication for certain kinds of cancer. This is most frequently given to patients suffering from bowel cancer.

Irinotecan is given as part of a chemotherapy treatment for cancers of the rectum and colon. It is usually given in combination with other chemotherapy drugs. This medication stops the grown of cancerous cells in the body, preventing their growth and spread in the process.

A clear, yellowish fluid, Irinotecan is also known under the brand name Camptosar.

Irinotecan is infused through a fine tube called cannula. This is inserted into a vein that normally is found at the back of the hand. It can also be infused through a thin plastic tube and then inserted into a vein close to the collarbone, or through the crook of the arms or PICC line.

Chemotherapy is normally done in several cycles stretching to a couple of months. The length of the treatment and the number of cycles depend on the type of cancer that is being treated.

Patients may have different reactions to Irinotecan. Some people may feel little to no side effects, while there are others who may suffer from a lot of side effects.

However, some of the more common side effects of this medication are increased sweating, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and decreased saliva production. These are side effects referred to as acute cholinergic syndrome. These are the side effects that usually occur a day after administration of Irinotecan.

These symptoms, however, can be controlled by atropine, a kind of injection that can be taken repeatedly when necessary.

Another common side effect is delayed diarrhea which occurs a day after the infusion. Doctors usually prescribe anti-diarrhea medication such as loperamide to control this side effect.

Irinotecan can also result to patients experiencing vomiting and nausea. This is usually experienced a couple of hours after the administration of the drug, and may last for a day.

Irinotecan can also result to loss of appetite among patients. Likewise, patients may have decreased resistance to infection as the use of Irinotecan results to lowered production of white blood cells in the body. This effect can last a few days after the administration of the drug. The white blood cells will steadily increase and should be back to normal before the next cycle.

This drug can increase the risks of thrombosis, or blood clot among patients. Blood clotting can cause symptoms like redness, pain, and swelling of a leg, chest pain, and difficulty in breathing. This is a serious ailment so patients have to immediately inform their physician if they experience these symptoms.

Patients should also inform their physicians of any drugs, whether prescription or non-prescription, that they are taking. These medications can have a harmful effect on the body when taken with Irinotecan. These include dietary supplements and herbal medications.

The ability to conceive may also be affected so patients have to talk with their doctors about fertility issues before agreeing to take this medication.

Irinotecan has the following structural formula:

Chemical structure of irinotecan

• Molecular formula of irinotecan is C33H38N4O6
• Molecular weight is 586.678 g/mol

Brand name(s): Camptosar

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