Common Brand Name(s): Cosmegen
Important: How To Use This Information
This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
Dactinomycin is used to treat cancer. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.
How To Use
This medication is given by injection into a vein over 10 to 15 minutes by a health care professional as directed by your doctor, usually once daily for 1 to 5 days. If this medication accidentally leaks into surrounding tissue when being given, the skin and/or muscle may be severely damaged. Tell your doctor or nurse right away if you have pain, burning, redness, blistering, or irritation at the injection site.
Dosage is based on your medical condition, weight, body size, and response to treatment. Your doctor will order lab tests to make sure you can receive your next dose. Keep all medical/lab appointments.
Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from the powder.
See also How to Use section.
Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea may occur. Nausea and vomiting can be severe. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Eating several small meals, not eating before treatment, or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. If these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Temporary hair loss is another common side effect. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.
Many people using this medication may have serious side effects. However, your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. To lower your risk of serious side effects, your doctor will follow your condition closely and order lab tests. Serious side effects may not happen until days to weeks after your treatment.
Pain/sores in the mouth and throat may occur. Brush your teeth gently/carefully, avoid using mouthwash that contains alcohol, and rinse your mouth frequently with cool water mixed with baking soda or salt. It may also be best to eat soft, moist foods. Tell your doctor right away if these effects persist/worsen or if you have trouble swallowing.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
- unusual weight gain
- signs of liver problems (nausea/vomiting that doesn't stop, loss of appetite, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine)
- signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine, painful/difficult urination, red/pinkish urine)
This medication decreases bone marrow function, an effect that may lead to a low number of blood cells such as red cells, white cells, and platelets. This effect can cause anemia, decrease your body's ability to fight an infection, or cause easy bruising/bleeding. Tell your doctor right away if you develop any of the following unlikely symptoms:
- unusual tiredness
- pale skin
- signs of infection (such as sore throat that doesn't go away, fever, chills)
- easy bruising/bleeding
Dactinomycin may increase the risk of other cancers (such as leukemia). Consult your doctor for more details.
When dactinomycin is given after radiation treatment, it can sometimes cause a serious skin reaction that looks likes a severe sunburn (radiation recall). The reaction usually develops within days to months after treatment on the skin area previously treated with radiation. Throat problems can also be part of radiation recall with dactinomycin. Tell your doctor right away if you develop skin redness/tenderness/swelling/peeling/blisters or painful/difficult swallowing. If you develop a skin reaction, avoid prolonged sun exposure, tanning booths, and sunlamps. Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:
- itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat)
- severe dizziness
- trouble breathing
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using dactinomycin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:
- current/recent infection (such as herpes, chickenpox)
- liver problems
- kidney problems
- blood disorders (such as anemia, clotting problems)
- previous chemotherapy/radiation treatment
Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor, and avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine or flu vaccine inhaled through the nose.
Wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infections. Avoid contact with people who have illnesses that may spread to others (such as flu, chickenpox).
To lower your chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not become pregnant while using dactinomycin. Dactinomycin may harm an unborn baby. Females using this medication should ask about reliable forms of birth control while using this medication and for 6 months after stopping treatment. Males using this medication should ask about reliable forms of birth control while using this medication and for 3 months after stopping treatment. If you or your partner become pregnant, talk to your doctor right away about the risks and benefits of this medication.
It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding is not recommended while using this drug and for 14 days after stopping treatment. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
This medication may interfere with certain lab tests (such as antibiotic drug levels), possibly causing false test results. Make sure lab personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Lab and/or medical tests (such as complete blood count, liver/kidney function) should be done while you are using this medication. Keep all medical and lab appointments. Consult your doctor for more details.
For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor to establish a new dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised August 2018.
Copyright(c) 2018 First Databank, Inc.
Conditions of use: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information in not intend to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects nor should it be construed in indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.