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  • Generic Name: (irinotecan hydrochloride)
    Other Brands: N/A
  • Last Revised: 01/2015
    • What is this medication and its most common uses?

      Camptosar is a medicine used in combination with certain other medications to treat colon or rectal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, or that has come back or gotten worse after treatment with another therapy. Camptosar is administered intravenously (through a vein in your arm).

    • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

      How does this medication work?

      Camptosar works by killing cancer cells.

      What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

      What: Studies have shown that people who received Camptosar in combination with certain other anti-cancer medications showed significant improvement in overall survival. Camptosar has also been shown to help delay the progression of cancer. 

      When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. 

      How do I know it is working?

      Your healthcare provider may order tests regularly to check how well this medication is working.

    • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

      The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

      Camptosar can cause a severe decrease in your blood cell counts, including neutrophils (a type of white blood cell important in fighting infections), red blood cells (blood cells that carry oxygen to the tissues), and platelets (important for clotting and control of bleeding). Your healthcare provider will check your blood cell counts and tell you if they are too low before you begin treatment with Camptosar. Call your healthcare provider right away if you develop fever or other signs of infection such as chills, cough, burning or pain on urination, or unusual bleeding.

      Camptosar can cause severe and possibly life-threatening diarrhea. Contact your healthcare provider if you develop diarrhea; black or bloody stools; symptoms of dehydration such as lightheadedness, dizziness, or faintness.

      More common side effects may include: nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite, inflammation of mucous membranes, pain, fever, infection, abnormal blood cell protein levels, hair loss, weakness, weight loss. 

      Less common side effects may include:

      Allergic reactions with symptoms such as trouble breathing or hives and skin that becomes red and warm all over the body.

      Life-threatening lung problems with symptoms such as new or worsening cough, fever, shortness of breath, or problems breathing.

      Camptosar may harm your unborn baby if used during pregnancy. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you believe or suspect you are pregnant while you are receiving Camptosar.

      Camptosar may also cause kidney problems.

    • Who should not take this medication?

      Your healthcare provider will not administer Camptosar to you if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

    • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

      Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Camptosar. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have kidney, liver, or lung problems; or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    • What is the usual dosage?

      The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

      Adults: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for you based on your condition, height, and body weight.

    • How should I take this medication?

      Your healthcare provider will administer Camptosar to you.

      Monitor your body temperature frequently during your treatment with Camptosar and immediately contact your healthcare provider if you develop a fever or infection.

    • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

      Do not become pregnant while you are receiving Camptosar.

      Do not miss any scheduled follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider.

    • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

      If Camptosar is used with certain other drugs, the effect of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. Camptosar may interact with numerous medications. Therefore, it is very important that you tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking.

    • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

      Camptosar can harm your unborn baby if received during pregnancy. The effects of Camptosar during breastfeeding are unknown. Do not breastfeed or become pregnant while you are receiving Camptosar. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

      Camptosar should be given under special circumstances determined by your healthcare provider. If you miss your scheduled dose, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist for advice.

    • How should I store this medication?

      Your healthcare provider will store this medication for you.

    • Who should I contact in case of emergency or overdose?
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      In the event of a medical emergency call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately. In the event of overdose, call your doctor or poison control for further instructions.
      National Poison Control#: Call 1-800-222-1222

      This PDR+ drug information has been developed by the Physicians’ Desk Reference Network (PDRN), a source of medication information trusted by doctors for over 65 years.

      This monograph summarizes the most important information about your medication and does not cover all the information you may need. If you have any questions or concerns or want to learn more about your medication, ask your healthcare provider; he/she will be able to provide answers to your questions. This medication should only be used by the patient for whom it was prescribed and should not be shared with other people.
    • Additional patient resources.
      back to top Use your PDR® Pharmacy Discount Card when you or a family member fills a prescription and ask for your PDR® Discount every
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    This discount plan is NOT insurance or a Medicare prescription drug plan. The plan is not intended as a substitute for insurance and does not meet creditable coverage requirements under state or federal law. The plan provides discounts at participating pharmacies on certain pharmaceutical supplies, prescription drugs, or medical equipment and supplies. The range of discounts will vary depending on the products received. Members are obligated to pay the pharmacy the entire amount of the discounted rate for such products at the point of sale. The plan does not pay pharmacies for products provided to members. No enrollment or periodic fees apply. The pharmacy may pay the plan a fee from amounts the pharmacy collects from the member. The discount plan organization is ProCare Pharmacy Benefit Manager, Inc.,1267 Professional Parkway, ProCare Office Park, Gainesville, GA 30507, 1-888-299-5383. Customer service is provided by PDR, LLC., 5 Paragon Drive, Montvale, NJ, 07645, 1-800-232-7379, www.pdr.net/DiscountCard, customerservice@pdr.net.