What are the side effects?
Nausea and vomiting
Bone marrow suppression
Drop in blood pressure
Interactions with other medicines
Giving oral etoposide at home
- If your child is unable to swallow capsules whole, the etoposide will be supplied to you from pharmacy in ready-filled syringes containing the dose to be given according to the prescription. This can be diluted according to instructions below to improve the taste. You will need a pair of rubber gloves for preparing the etoposide.
- Put on the gloves and empty the contents of the etoposide syringe into a glass (NOT a plastic beaker).
- Add a small amount of fruit juice, squash or water but NOT grapefruit juice into the glass to make a suitable volume (not too much) for your child.
- Once mixed with juice, squash or water, the solution must be taken within three hours.
- Put the syringe and cap into the sharps bin provided by the ward.
- Give the dose to your child.
- Wash the glass out separately in warm soapy water and keep for the next dose of etoposide.
- Do not use the glass or gloves for other purposes.
- If contact occurs with your skin, you must wash the area immediately, using plenty of water. If the skin is sore you should contact your GP (family doctor) for advice.
- If contact occurs with your eyes, wash immediately with plenty of water for at least 10 minutes. If your eyes are sore after this, you should go to your nearest Accident and Emergency (A&E) department.
- If you spill any cytotoxic medicines on the work surface or floor, wearing gloves, cover the spillage with kitchen paper. Wipe the area with water then clean with household cleaner and water. Used kitchen paper and other items used to clean up the spillage should be double bagged and disposed of with the household waste.
- If any cytotoxic medicine is spilt on clothing, the spill should be blotted dry with kitchen paper. Clothing should be removed immediately and washed separately from other items. Used kitchen paper should be disposed of as above.
- Keep all medicines and tablets in a safe place where children cannot reach them.
- Etoposide should be kept in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or heat.
- You should handle these medicines with care, avoiding touching them where possible. If you are pregnant or think you could be pregnant, please discuss handling instructions with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist. Please see our Special handling requirements information sheet for further details.
- If your child vomits straight after taking the dose, inform your local doctor or nurse, as your child may need to take another one. Do not give them another dose without informing the doctor or nurse.
- If you forget to give your child a dose, do not give a double dose. Inform your doctor or nurse and keep to your child’s regular schedule.
- Used paper towels, vomit and dirty disposable nappies should be placed inside two rubbish bags and disposed of along with your normal rubbish.
- If the doctor decides to stop treatment or the medicine passes its expiry date, return any remaining etoposide to the pharmacist. Do not flush or throw it away.