Dactinomycin : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More

IMPORTANT WARNING:
Dactinomycin injection should be given in a hospital or medical center under the supervision of a doctor experienced in administering chemotherapy drugs for cancer.

Dactinomycin should be administered only into a vein. However, it can seep into the surrounding tissue and cause serious damage or irritation. Your doctor or nurse will monitor your administration site to detect this reaction. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: pain, itching, redness, swelling, blisters, or sores where the medicine was injected.

Why is this medication prescribed?
Dactinomycin is used in combination with other medications, surgery, and / or radiation therapy to treat Wilms’ tumor (a type of kidney cancer that occurs in children) and rhabdomyosarcoma (cancer that forms in the muscles) in children. Dactinomycin is also used in combination with other medications to treat certain types of testicular cancer and Ewing’s sarcoma (a type of cancer of the bones or muscles). Dactinomycin is also used alone or in combination with other medications to treat gestational trophoblastic tumors (a type of tumor that forms inside a woman’s uterus while she is pregnant). Dactinomycin can also be used to treat certain types of cancerous tumors found in a specific area of the body. Dactinomycin is a type of antibiotic that is only used in cancer chemotherapy. It works by slowing down or stopping the growth of cancer cells in your body.

How should this medicine be used?
Dactinomycin comes as a powder to be mixed with liquid to be injected intravenously (into a vein) by a doctor or nurse at a medical facility. The length of treatment depends on the type of cancer you have, the types of other medications you are taking, and how well your body responds to treatment. Your doctor may need to stop or delay your treatment if you experience certain side effects. Dactinomycin can also be injected by a doctor directly into a specific part of the body or organ to treat the area where a tumor is found.

Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.

Other uses for this medicine
Dactinomycin is also sometimes used to treat a type of ovarian cancer (a cancer that begins in the female reproductive organs where the eggs form). Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication for your condition.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before receiving dactinomycin,
•  Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to dactinomycin, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in dactinomycin injection. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.

•  Tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take.

•  Tell your doctor if you have chickenpox or herpes zoster (shingles). Your doctor will probably not want you to receive dactinomycin injection.

•  Tell your doctor if you have already received or are receiving radiation therapy.

•  Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. You should not become pregnant or breastfeed while receiving dactinomycin. If you become pregnant while receiving dactinomycin, call your doctor. Dactinomycin can harm the fetus.

•  Don’t get vaccinated without talking to your doctor.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Dactinomycin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • hair loss
  • stomach pain

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:

  • hives
  • rash
  • nausea
  • extreme tiredness
  • lack of energy
  • loss of appetite
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • black and tarry stools
  • red blood in stools
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • sores in the mouth and throat
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • pain in the upper right part of the stomach
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • fever, sore throat, ongoing cough and congestion, or other signs of infection

Dactinomycin may increase the risk of developing other types of cancer. Talk to your doctor about the risks of receiving dactinomycin injection.

Dactinomycin can cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medicine.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor can submit an online report to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim collapsed, had a seizure, is having trouble breathing, or cannot wake up, call 911 immediately.

Symptoms of overdose may include the following:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • black and tarry stools
  • red blood in stools
  • lack of energy
  • loss of appetite
  • blisters or rash
  • hives
  • pain in the upper right part of the stomach
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • extreme tiredness
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • sores in the mouth and throat
  • fever, sore throat, chills, or other signs of infection
  • flu-like symptoms
  • decreased urination
  • swelling of the face, arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs

What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain tests to check your body’s response to dactinomycin.

It is important that you keep a written list of all prescription and over-the-counter (non-prescription) medications you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should carry this list with you every time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to take with you in emergencies.

Brand Names

  • Cosmege

Other Names

  • Actinomycin

Disclaimer: We have made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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