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Etoposide is a chemotherapy drug. It works by interfering with the action of an enzyme cells use during cell division. As cancer cells divide more often than normal cells, it results in a quicker death of the cell. It is commonly used for Kaposi’s sarcoma, lung cancer, testicular cancer, lymphoma and other conditions. It can be administered either intravenously or by capsule.
If administered too quickly, it can cause severely lowered blood pressure. Patients also must watch out for signs of fever, infection or a painful injection site as these can develop into serious conditions very quickly. In addition, the drug can damage the bladder and kidneys if the patient does not take in large amounts of water both before and after the drug is administered.
Etoposide also causes other symptoms typical of chemotherapy agents that affect cell division, such as hair loss, diarrhea and bone marrow suppression. However, it is less likely to cause nausea or allergic reactions.