Description: Etoposide is a anti-neoplastic drug that works by stopping the tumor cells from dividing, and prevents certain types of cancer.


Etoposide is used alone or in combination with other medications to treat certain forms of lung cancer (such as small cell lung cancer and testicular cancer).


This medication may also be used for certain types of leukemias and lymphomas, ovarian cancer, testicular cancer, and a certain type of prostate cancer.


Should not be given to patients with known severe allergic reaction to this drug or to any of its components.

How to use etoposide

  • Etoposide is usually administered as an injection at your doctor’s office, hospital, or clinic. If you are using etoposide at home, carefully follow the injection procedures taught to you by your health care provider.
  • Dose depends on the condition of the patient.

Blood and bone marrow problems: This can affect your body’s ability to stop bleeding or fight infection. Therefore, platelet count, hemoglobin and white blood cell count should be taken before administration of the drug.

Allergic reaction: Physicians should be aware of the possible occurrence of an allergic reaction manifested by chills, fever, increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, and low blood pressure. The infusion should be terminated immediately, followed by the administration of pressor agents, corticosteroids, antihistamines, or volume expanders at the discretion of the physician.

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking etoposide:

More common

  • Black, tarry stools
  • bleeding gums
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • chest pain
  • chills
  • cough
  • fever
  • painful or difficult urination
  • pale skin
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • shortness of breath
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
  • swollen glands
  • troubled breathing with exertion
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

Some of the side effects that can occur with etoposide may not need medical attention:

More common

  • Hair loss or thinning of the hair
  • swelling or inflammation of the mouth
  • weight loss


Before having surgery, tell your doctor about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially drowsiness, weakness, mouth/throat sores, loss of appetite, low white blood cells, and loss of too much body water (dehydration).

  •  Allergy: Before taking etoposide, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies.
  • Medical History: Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you had: kidney disease, liver disease, blood problems (such as low red blood cells/white blood cells/platelets), previous radiation/chemotherapy treatment.
  • Etoposide can make you more likely to get infections or may worsen any current infections. Therefore, wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infection. Avoid contact with people who have infections that may spread to others (such as chickenpox, measles, flu). Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor. Avoid contact with people who have recently received live vaccines (such as flu vaccine inhaled through the nose).
  • Daily use of alcohol while using this medicine may increase your risk for stomach bleeding. Limit alcoholic beverages.
  • Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs and may harm an unborn baby, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from the capsules.

Pregnancy Risk: Category D (Can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman)

Breastfeeding: This medication passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using etoposide is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.



High-dose cyclosporin A resulting in concentrations above 2000 ng/mL administered with oral etoposide has led to increased concentration of etoposide in the blood.


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


Do not share this medication with others.

Laboratory tests (such as complete blood cell counts, kidney function, liver function) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress and check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.

Missed Dose

For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of etoposide as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist immediately to establish a new dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.


Different brands of this medication have different storage needs. Check the product package for instructions on how to store your brand, or ask your pharmacist. Keep all medications away from children and pets.

Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.



Available Brands:

Etopul [ Korea United Pharma ] Fytosid [ Fresenius Kabi ]
MPL Toposid [ MPL ] Posid [ Pharmachemie ]


Also marketed as

Topresid [ Biomedis Oncology ] Vepesid [ Bristol-Myers Squibb ]

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