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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Etoposide (VePesid®, Toposar®)


Brand Names: VePesid®, Toposar®, Etophos®

Etoposide is used in the treatment of testicular cancer and lung cancer.

Etoposide is a type of chemotherapy. Specifically, it is in a class of drugs called podophyllotoxin derivatives, which come from the May apple plant, and is also known as a topoisomerase inhibitor. These drugs interfere with the function of enzymes called topoisomerases, which control certain aspects of DNA replication.

This medication is given as an infusion into a vein (intravenously) or as a tablet taken by mouth. The exact dose and schedule of etoposide depends on the condition being treated, how well the cancer is responding, and several other factors, including height, weight, and general health. Your doctor will determine the best regimen for you.

Etoposide side effects

To prevent problematic interactions between etoposide and other drugs, be sure to tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications, and what other medications and supplements you are currently taking. You should also inform your doctor if you have or ever had liver tumor, liver disease, kidney disease, if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

Possible side effects of etoposide may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Changes in sense of taste
  • Thinned or brittle hair

Some of etoposide’s side effects can be serious. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Fatigue that is severe or prolonged
  • Mouth blistering
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, feeling of faintness
  • Pain at injection site
  • Fever, chills, sore throat, or other signs of infection
  • Shortness of breath or other breathing discomfort
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Changes in normal bowel habits lasting more than 2 days

Please note that this is not a comprehensive list. Patients may experience additional effects not mentioned above.

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), your team of cancer experts will explain each of the side effects of etoposide with you in detail, as well as the side effects and expectations of all other medications planned as part of your individualized treatment plan.

Etoposide for cancer treatment

Etoposide is approved by the FDA for the following:

  • Treatment of small cell lung cancer (SCLC)
  • Treatment of testicular cancer that has not improved following surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), our integrative approach to cancer treatment works to fight your disease on all fronts and ensures that you remain at the center of everything we do. We encourage participation from both you and your family to make certain you are comfortable with all decisions made regarding your treatment.

The information provided here is for educational purposes only. In no way should it be considered as offering medical advice. Cancer Treatment Centers of America assumes no responsibility for how this material is used. Please check with a physician if you suspect you are ill. Also note that while Cancer Treatment Centers of America frequently updates its contents, medical information changes rapidly. Therefore, some information may be out of date.