Cancer Home > Precautions and Warnings With Irinotecan

If you have kidney disease, diabetes, or an infection, make sure your healthcare provider is aware of it before starting treatment with irinotecan. This chemotherapy drug can cause potentially dangerous complications, including severe diarrhea or blood clots. A warning has been issued regarding the use of irinotecan in people with a certain genetic variation; as a precaution, genetic testing may be done before starting treatment.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Receiving Irinotecan?

Talk with your healthcare provider prior to receiving irinotecan (Camptosar®) if you have:
  • Any infection
  • Kidney disease, such as kidney failure (renal failure)
  • Liver disease, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or liver failure
  • Lung disease, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease or had a recent heart attack
  • Plans to receive a vaccination
  • Bone marrow problems
  • Gilbert's syndrome (a decreased ability to break down bilirubin)
  • A hereditary inability to digest fructose (a type of sugar found in fruit)
  • Received radiation treatment to your pelvic or abdominal (stomach) area
  • A bowel obstruction (intestinal blockage), inflammation (colitis), or constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Breastfeeding
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant.
You should also tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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