Description: Irinotecan, a derivative of camptothecin, works by inhibiting the enzyme topoisomerase I thereby interfering with the coiling and uncoiling of DNA during replication and causing irreparable damage.

This medication is used to treat cancer of the colon and rectum. It may also be used to treat other types of cancer (such as lung, bone cancer).

How to use irinotecan intravenous

This medication is given by injection into a vein by a health care professional. The dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to treatment.

If this medication comes into contact with your skin, wash the skin immediately and completely with soap and water. If this medication gets into your eyes, mouth, or nose, flush completely with plenty of water. Consult your doctor for more details.

You will be closely monitored (e.g., blood tests) by your doctor while using this medication. Keep all medical and laboratory appointments.

Irinotecan may cause severe diarrhea. If the diarrhea starts immediately, you may also have other side effects such as runny nose, increased saliva, watery eyes, sweating, stomach cramps, or flushing. If the diarrhea starts later, it could be a different type that may be persistent and can cause serious (possibly fatal) loss of too much body water (dehydration), mineral imbalance, or serious infection (sepsis).

This medication may cause very serious (possibly fatal) blood disorders (decreased bone marrow function leading to low number of blood cells such as white cells, red cells, and platelets). This effect can decrease your body’s ability to fight an infection, cause your body to bruise or bleed easier, or cause anemia.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly if these effects persist or worsen:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • constipation
  • cough
  • drowsiness
  • mouth sores
  • weakness
  • trouble sleeping

Temporary hair loss may occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:

  • pain/redness/swelling at the injection site or arms/legs
  • numbness/tingling/burning of arms/legs
  • black/bloody stools
  • change in the amount of urine
  • lung problems (such as shortness of breath, cough)

Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including:

  • chest pain
  • weakness on one side of the body
  • slurred speech
  • confusion
  • trouble breathing

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.


  • Allergic reaction to this medication
  • Patients with medical history of:
    • bowel blockage (e.g., paralytic ileus)
    • certain genetic metabolism disorder (fructose intolerance)
    • radiation treatments
    • diabetes
    • liver disease
    • blood/bone marrow disorders (e.g., low platelet/neutrophil/red blood cell levels)
    • kidney disease
    • lung disease
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you are using this medication before having surgery
  • This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy or cause blurred vision
  • Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor
  • avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine or flu vaccine inhaled through the nose
  • elderly may be more sensitive to diarrhea
  • This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy
  • Consult your doctor before breast-feeding

Consult your doctor regarding the precautions mentioned above.



Laxatives and “water pills”/diuretics (e.g., furosemide) may interact with this drug.

Other medications may affect how irinotecan works. Examples include:

  • azole antifungals (such as ketoconazole, itraconazole)
  • clarithromycin
  • gemfibrozil
  • nefazodone
  • rifamycins (such as rifabutin)
  • HIV protease inhibitors (such as ritonavir, atazanavir)
  • John’s wort
  • drugs used to treat seizures (such as carbamazepine, phenytoin)
  • telaprevir

Avoid eating foods or taking products containing tumeric (curcumin) because it may decrease this medication’s effects.


If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. Symptoms of overdose may include: signs of infection (e.g., persistent sore throat, fever), severe diarrhea.


Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., complete blood count, hemoglobin, platelets) should be performed regularly to monitor your progress or 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 this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor to establish a new dosing schedule.


Consult the product instructions and your pharmacist for storage details. 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:

Irinotesin [ PPC ]

Also marketed as

Biomedis Irinotecan [ Biomedis Oncology ] Campto CS [ Pfizer ]
Irican [ Fresenius Kabi ]

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