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Drug name (Generic Name) Omacetaxine mepesuccinate

UPMC Content 2

About This Drug

Omacetaxine mepesuccinate is used to treat cancer. It is given subcutaneously (under the skin).

Possible Side Effects (More Common)

  • Bone marrow depression. This is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This may increase your risk of infection, fatigue, and bleeding.
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Swelling of your legs, ankles and/or feet
  • Headache
  • Increase in your blood sugar levels. Your doctor will monitor your blood work as needed.
  • Increase or decrease in blood pressure

Possible Side Effects (Less Common)

  • Rash
  • Cough
  • Nose bleed
  • Trouble sleeping

Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions to this drug are rare, but may occur in some patients.

When you are receiving this drug under the skin, tell your nurse immediately if you have any of the following symptoms of an allergic reaction:

  • Fever or chills
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Feeling your heart beat rapidly (palpitations)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rash or itching

Treating Side Effects

  • Ask your doctor about medicine that can help prevent or lessen nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and/or headache.
  • Drink 6 – 8 cups of fluid every day unless your doctor has told you to restrict your fluid intake due to another medical condition. A cup is 8 ounces of fluid. If you vomit or have diarrhea, you should drink more fluid so that you do not become dehydrated.
  • Do not put anything on your rash unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep the area around the rash clean and dry. Ask your doctor for medication if your rash is bothersome.
  • If you have a nose bleed, sit with your head tipped slightly forward. Apply pressure by lightly pinching the bridge of your nose between your thumb and forefinger. Call your doctor if you feel dizzy or faint or if the bleeding doesn't stop after 10 to 15 minutes.
  • If you feely dizzy when you first stand up, sit upright for a few minutes before standing up.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse how to treat soreness at the injection site

Important Information

If you are started on antibiotics, and/or antiviral and/or antifungal medicines while taking this medication, please take as told by your doctor. If you have trouble taking doses because of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or any other problem, call your doctor or nurse immediately.

Food and Drug Interactions

There are no known interactions of omacetaxine mepesuccinate with food. This drug may interact with other medications. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medication and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs, and others) that you are currently taking. The safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often unknown. Using these might unexpectedly affect your cancer or interfere with your treatment. Until more is known, you should not use dietary supplements or alternative diets without your cancer doctor's advice.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Temperature of 100.5°F (38.0°C) or above
  • Chills
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Uncontrolled nausea that prevents you from eating or drinking
  • Vomiting more than 3 times a day
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Severe headache

Call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if any of the following symptoms occur:

  • Nausea not relieved by prescribed medication
  • Headache not relieved by prescribed medication
  • Extreme tiredness that interferes with normal activity
  • Diarrhea 4 times in one day or diarrhea with weakness or lightheadedness
  • Swelling of your legs, ankles, and/or feet
  • Pain, redness or swelling at the Injection site
  • Trouble sleeping

Reproductive Concerns

Pregnancy Warning: This drug may have harmful effects on the unborn child, so effective means of birth control should be used during your cancer treatment. Ask your doctor or nurse about effective birth control methods.

Breast Feeding Warning: It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. For this reason, women are advised to discuss with their doctor the risks and benefits of breast feeding during treatment with this drug because this drug may enter the breast milk and seriously harm a breast feeding infant.

New – May 2013