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The Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program of BC

Chemotherapy Drugs

Etoposide (VP-16)

Etoposide (ee-TOP-aw-side) or VP-16 is a drug that is used to treat many types of cancer. It is a clear liquid that is injected into a vein.

Common Side Effects

  • Etoposide burns if it leaks under the skin. Tell your nurse or doctor immediately if you feel burning, stinging or any other change while the drug is being given.
  • Your white blood cells will decrease 1-2 weeks after your treatment. White blood cells protect your body by fighting germs that cause infection. When white blood cells are low, you are at a greater risk of getting an infection.
  • Your platelets may decrease 1-2 weeks after your treatment. Platelets help to make your blood clot when you hurt yourself. You may bruise or bleed more easily than usual.
  • Hair loss is common and may begin within a few days or weeks of treatment. Your hair may thin or you may become totally bald. You may lose hair on your face and body. Your hair will grow back once your treatments are over.
  • Mouth sores may occur a few days after treatment. These may occur on the tongue, on the sides of the mouth or in the throat. Follow good oral hygiene to prevent infection.
  • Taste changes may occur.
  • Diarrhea or constipation may occur.

Printable Drug Information

Click here, to view and print a complete description of etoposide (VP-16) and its side effects and management from the BC Cancer Agency Drug Manual©.

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