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Temozolomide

Temozolomide

Description

Temozolomide (TMZ; brand names Temodar and Temodal and Temcad) is an oral chemotherapy drug. It is an alkylating agent used as a treatment of some brain cancers; as a second-line treatment for astrocytoma and a first-line treatment for glioblastoma multiforme.

What Is Temozolomide?

Temozolomide interferes with the development of cancer cells, slowing their growth and spread in the body.

Temozolomide is used together with radiation therapy to treat certain types of brain tumor in adults.

Temozolomide is usually given after other cancer medicines have been tried without success.

Temozolomide Side Effects

  • seizure (convulsions);
  • fever, chills, dry cough, feeling short of breath;
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
  • low white blood cell counts--fever, swollen gums, painful mouth sores, pain when swallowing, skin sores, cold or flu symptoms, cough, trouble breathing; or
  • liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Common side effects may include:

  • bruising, skin rash;
  • loss of movement on one side of the body;
  • nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite;
  • diarrhea, constipation;
  • headache, tired feeling, memory problems;
  • dizziness, weakness, loss of coordination;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • low white blood cell count

Temozolomide Dosage

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

 Temozolomide is given in a 28-day treatment cycle, and you may only need to take the medicine during the first few days of each cycle.

If you are also receiving radiation treatment, you may need to take temozolomide for 6 to 7 weeks in a row during your first treatment cycle. Then you may be switched to a 28-day maintenance treatment cycle.

Drug Works:

Cancerous tumors are characterized by cell division, which is no longer controlled as it is in normal tissue.   "Normal" cells stop dividing when they come into contact with like cells, a mechanism known as contact inhibition.  Cancerous cells lose this ability.  Cancer cells no longer have the normal checks and balances in place that control and limit cell division.  The process of cell division, whether normal or cancerous cells, is through the cell cycle.  The cell cycle goes from the resting phase, through active growing phases, and then to mitosis (division).

Chemotherapy drugs that affect cells only when they are dividing are called cell-cycle specific.  Chemotherapy drugs that affect cells when they are at rest are called cell-cycle non-specific.  The scheduling of chemotherapy is set based on the type of cells, rate at which they divide, and the time at which a given drug is likely to be effective.  This is why chemotherapy is typically given in cycles.

Precautions:

Before starting temozolomide treatment, make sure you tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking (including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, herbal remedies, etc.).  Do not take aspirin, or products containing aspirin unless your doctor specifically permits this.Do not receive any kind of immunization or vaccination without your doctor's approval while taking temozolomide.Let your health care provider know if you've had an allergic reaction to this drug or dacarbazine (DTIC) in the past, you may not be able to take temozolamide.

Inform your health care professional if you are pregnant or may be pregnant prior to starting this treatment. 

Missed Dose

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

Storage

Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. 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.Information last revised May 2018. Copyright(c) 2018 First Databank, Inc.

 

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