Dactinomycin ( Cosmegen)

Warnings: Dactinomycin can be extremely toxic if handled incorrectly. This medication should never come in contact with the skin, eyes, nose, or mouth. If contact does occur, you should flush the area for 15 minutes and seek a doctor’s help immediately. Some patients have extreme allergic reactions to Dactinomycin, so if you suspect an allergic reaction during treatment, tell your doctors immediately. There are also many side effects which you should be aware of and be able to tell your doctor about at a moment’s notice.

Indications:  Dactinomycin is a type of cancer medication that is a type of chemotherapy. This medication will attack the cells which reproduce themselves most quickly, which generally attacks cancerous cells first. While Dactinomycin can be used to help transplant patients whose bodies are rejecting their new organs, and can also treat Paget’s disease, it is primarily used to treat various, specific types of sarcomas and carcinomas. Dactinomycin is a type of antibiotic chemotherapy, and as a chemotherapy treatment, you should receive your injections from a doctor and be monitored through each treatment.

In general, Dactinomycin is used, alone or in association with other anticancer drugs, to treat the following cancers:

  • Ewing’s sarcoma
  • testicular cancer
  • melanoma
  • uterine cancer
  • Wilms’ tumor
  • rhabdomyosarcoma
  • gestational trophoblastic disease
  • neuroblastoma
  • retinoblastoma
  • Kaposi’s sarcoma
  • Soft tissue sarcoma

Dosage:  This medication should always be administered by a doctor, and you should be monitored through the process. Your doctor will decide your exact dosage depending on how severe your case is and what type of disease you are getting treated for. You should always tell your doctor if you suspect an allergic reaction or if you feel any pain around the area of the injection, as this could mean that your skin is absorbing some of the medication, which is dangerous.

Contraindications: If you have ever had liver disease, gastrointestinal disease, or an ulcer, you should mention this to your doctor before you begin your treatment. Your doctor should also always be aware of every health problem you have had or that you are still affected by. This will help your doctor to decide if Dactinomycin is the truly right medication for your body and your condition.

Dactinomycin is not recommended, or should be used with precaution in the following conditions:

  • Pregnancy
  • breastfeeding
  • bone marrow failure
  • during or shortly after chickenpox or shingles
  • Allergy to Dactinomycin or one of its ingredients.

Interactions: There is a wide variety of medications that react negatively with your treatments of Dactinomycin. Many of these medications are prescription drugs, but there are also some supplements and over the counter medicines that are important to mention to your doctor. Aspirin, for example, may be dangerous for you to take while you are also having Dactinomycin treatments. Be sure to talk to your doctor about every medication you are taking currently or want to start taking, and report to your doctor before starting a new medication you have not yet mentioned.

Side effects:  Dactinomycin also attacks health (non cancerous) cells, which can cause the following side effects in most cancer patients undergoing the treatment:

  • mouth blistering
  • temporary hair loss 
  • nausea and vomiting
  • decreased appetite
  • weight loss
  • abdominal pain and diarrhea
  • difficulty swallowing
  • blistering skin
  • skin irritation
  • Skin rash.

Although rare, Dactinomycin can cause serious side effects in some cancer patients. These conditions require immediate medical attention to avoid more serious complications:

  • chills
  • Seizures
  • fever
  • persistent cough
  • shortness of breath
  • irregular heart beat
  • severe depression
  • breathing difficulty
  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • dizziness or/and faintness
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • swelling of your feet or ankles
  • Swelling and pain at the injection site



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