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What Is Irinotecan Used For?

How Does It Work?

Irinotecan belongs to a group of medicines known as topoisomerase I inhibitors. Topoisomerase I is an enzyme that helps relax DNA that has been overwound, which can occur when DNA is duplicating so cells can divide. It does this by breaking the DNA strand to relieve the strain and then rejoining the strand. Irinotecan binds to topoisomerase I and prevents the enzyme from repairing the breaks in the DNA, and this causes the cell to die.

Can Children Use Irinotecan?

Irinotecan is not approved for use in children. At this time, it is not known whether this medication works in children. Talk with your child's healthcare provider about the particular benefits and risks of using this drug in children.

Is It Safe for Older Adults?

Older adults can use this medicine. However, older adults appear to have a higher risk for certain side effects, such as diarrhea. Some older adults may need a lower starting dose, depending on the irinotecan dosing regimen used.

Are There Off-Label Uses for Irinotecan?

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

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