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Etoposide Prescription
Generic Name: etoposide (oral) (e TOE poe side)
Brand Name: VePesid
Physician reviewed etoposide (oral) patient information - includes etoposide description, dosage and directions.
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Etoposide Drug Information:

Etoposide is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body. Etoposide is used to treat small cell lung cancer. It is usually given in combination with other cancer medicines. Etoposide may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide. Etoposide can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. You may get an infection or bleed more easily. Call your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding, or signs of infection (fever, chills, body aches). Learn more

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Etoposide Side Effects

For the Consumer

Applies to etoposide: oral capsule liquid filled

Other dosage forms:

  • intravenous powder for solution, intravenous solution

Oral route (Capsule, Liquid Filled)

Severe myelosuppression with resulting infection or bleeding may occur with etoposide.

Along with its needed effects, etoposide may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking etoposide:

More common

  • Black, tarry stools
  • bleeding gums
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • chest pain
  • chills
  • cough
  • fever
  • painful or difficult urination
  • pale skin
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • shortness of breath
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
  • swollen glands
  • troubled breathing with exertion
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

Less common

  • Blurred vision
  • confusion
  • cough
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • dizziness
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • fast heartbeat
  • feeling of warmth
  • headache
  • hives
  • itching
  • nervousness
  • numbness or tingling in the fingers or toes
  • pounding in the ears
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
  • skin rash
  • slow or fast heartbeat
  • sweating
  • tightness in the chest
  • wheezing


  • Bone pain

Incidence not known

  • Abdominal or stomach pain, severe
  • blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  • cough or hoarseness
  • dark urine
  • diarrhea
  • difficult breathing
  • drowsiness
  • joint or muscle pain
  • loss of appetite
  • lower back or side pain
  • muscle tremors
  • nausea or vomiting
  • rapid, deep breathing
  • red, irritated eyes
  • red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  • restlessness
  • seizures
  • stomach cramps
  • yellow eyes or skin

Some side effects of etoposide may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  • Hair loss or thinning of the hair
  • swelling or inflammation of the mouth
  • weight loss

Incidence not known

  • Bad, unusual, or unpleasant (after) taste
  • change in taste
  • constipation
  • cracked lips
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • heartburn
  • lack or loss of strength
  • pain or burning in the throat
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to etoposide: intravenous powder for injection, intravenous solution, oral capsule


Very common (10% or more): Myelosuppression (sometimes fatal), leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, anemia


Very common (10% or more): Abdominal pain, constipation, nausea, vomiting, anorexia, mucositis (including stomatitis and esophagitis)

Common (1% to 10%): Diarrhea

Rare (less than 0.1%): Dysphagia, dysgeusia


Common (1% to 10%): Myocardial infarction, arrhythmia, transient systolic hypotension (following rapid IV administration), hypertension

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Cyanosis

Rare (less than 0.1%): Heart failure


Common (1% to 10%): Anaphylaxis (sometimes fatal)


Very common (10% or more): Alopecia, pigmentation

Common (1% to 10%): Rash, urticaria, pruritus

Rare (less than 0.1%): Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, radiation recall dermatitis, maculopapular rash


Common (1% to 10%): Hepatotoxicity


Very common (10% or more): Asthenia, malaise

Frequency not reported: Fever


Rare (less than 0.1%): Pulmonary fibrosis, interstitial pneumonitis, bronchospasm, dyspnea


Frequency not reported: Infectious complications


Frequency not reported: Tumor lysis syndrome (sometimes fatal) has been reported following the use of this drug in association with other chemotherapeutic drugs

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more: Neurotoxicity (e.g., somnolence, fatigue)

Common (1% to 10%): Dizziness

Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Peripheral neuropathy

Rare (less than 0.1%): Seizure (occasionally associated with allergic reactions), optic neuritis, cortical blindness transient, neurotoxicity (e.g., somnolence, fatigue)

Frequency not reported: Aftertaste


Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Optic neuritis, transient cortical blindness


Common (1% to 10%): Extravasation (e.g., local soft tissue toxicity, swelling, pain, cellulitis, necrosis including skin necrosis), phlebitis


Common (1% to 10%): Acute leukemia

Frequency not reported: Acute promyelocytic leukemia

Editorial References and Review

Medically reviewed by USARx EDITORIAL TEAM Last updated on 1/27/2021.

Source: Drugs.com Etoposide (www.drugs.com/mtm/etoposide.html).