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What Is Etoposide Injection Used For?

How Does This Medicine Work?

The etoposide injection belongs to a group of medicines known as podophyllotoxin derivatives. Podophyllotoxins are derived from the Mayapple tree (Podophyllum peltatum). These medications work by interfering with the action of an enzyme known as topoisomerase II.
Topoisomerase II helps relax DNA that has been tangled or overwound, which can happen when DNA is unwinding to duplicate so cells can divide. The enzyme does this by cutting the DNA strands to relieve the tension and then putting the strands back together. Etoposide binds to topoisomerase II and prevents the enzyme from relaxing DNA; as a result, the DNA strands break. This prevents cells from dividing, which stops the growth of cancer cells.

Can Children Use It?

Etoposide injection is not approved for use in children, as it has not been adequately studied in this age group. However, it is sometimes used off-label to treat certain cancers in children. Children may be at particular risk for allergic reactions from etoposide injections, especially if the medicine is given in high doses. Talk with your child's healthcare provider about the particular benefits and risks of using this medicine in children.

Is It Safe for Older Adults to Use Etoposide Injection?

This drug may be used for cancer treatment in older adults. Older adults receiving this medicine may have a higher risk for certain side effects, such as:
  • Low blood cell counts
  • Mouth sores
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Drowsiness.

What About Off-Label Uses?

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend this medicine for something other than the uses discussed in this article. This is called an "off-label" use. Etoposide injection may be prescribed off-label to treat many other types of cancer, including but not limited to:
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Etoposide Injection Information

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