"Oct. 24, 2012 -- It is not a desired discussion for the doctor, and certainly not for the patient. But an overwhelming majority of people with advanced cancer are under the impression that the chemotherapy they are receiving will cure their disea"...
VUMON is a potent drug and should be used only by physicians experienced in the administration of cancer chemotherapeutic drugs. Blood counts, as well as renal and hepatic function tests, should be carefully monitored prior to and during therapy.
Patients being treated with VUMON (teniposide injection) should be observed frequently for myelosuppression both during and after therapy. Dose-limiting bone marrow suppression is the most significant toxicity associated with VUMON therapy. Therefore, the following studies should be obtained at the start of therapy and prior to each subsequent dose of VUMON: hemoglobin, white blood cell count and differential, and platelet count. If necessary, repeat bone marrow examination should be performed prior to the decision to continue therapy in the setting of severe myelosuppression.
Physicians should be aware of the possible occurrence of a hypersensitivity reaction variably manifested by chills, fever, urticaria, tachycardia, bronchospasm, dyspnea, hypertension or hypotension, rash, and facial flushing. This reaction may occur with the first dose of VUMON and may be life threatening if not treated promptly with antihistamines, corticosteroids, epinephrine, intravenous fluids, and other supportive measures as clinically indicated. The exact cause of these reactions is unknown. They may be due to the Cremophor® EL (polyoxyethylated castor oil) component of the vehicle or to teniposide itself. Patients who have experienced prior hypersensitivity reactions to VUMON are at risk for recurrence of symptoms and should only be re-treated with VUMON if the antileukemic benefit already demonstrated clearly outweighs the risk of a probable hypersensitivity reaction for that patient. When a decision is made to re-treat a patient with VUMON in spite of an earlier hypersensitivity reaction, the patient should be pretreated with corticosteroids and antihistamines and receive careful clinical observation during and after VUMON infusion. In the clinical experience with VUMON at SJCRH and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), re-treatment of patients with prior hypersensitivity reactions has been accomplished using measures described above. To date, there is no evidence to suggest cross-sensitization between VUMON and VePesid®.One episode of sudden death, attributed to probable arrhythmia and intractable hypotension, has been reported in an elderly patient receiving VUMON combination therapy for a non-leukemic malignancy. (See ADVERSE REACTIONS.) Patients receiving VUMON treatment should be under continuous observation for at least the first 60 minutes following the start of the infusion and at frequent intervals thereafter. If symptoms or signs of anaphylaxis occur, the infusion should be stopped immediately, followed by the administration of epinephrine, corticosteroids, antihistamines, pressor agents, or volume expanders at the discretion of the physician. An aqueous solution of epinephrine 1:1000 and a source of oxygen should be available at the bedside.
For parenteral administration, VUMON should be given only by slow intravenous infusion (lasting at least 30 to 60 minutes) since hypotension has been reported as a possible side effect of rapid intravenous injection, perhaps due to a direct effect of Cremophor® EL. If clinically significant hypotension develops, the VUMON infusion should be discontinued. The blood pressure usually normalizes within hours in response to cessation of the infusion and administration of fluids or other supportive therapy as appropriate. If the infusion is restarted, a slower administration rate should be used and the patient should be carefully monitored.
Acute central nervous system depression, hypotension, and metabolic acidosis have been observed in patients receiving investigational infusions of high-dose VUMON who were pretreated with antiemetic drugs. The depressant effects of the antiemetic agents and the alcohol content of the VUMON formulation may place patients receiving higher than recommended doses of VUMON at risk for central nervous system depression.
Pregnancy Category D
VUMON may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. VUMON has been shown to be teratogenic and embryotoxic in laboratory animals. In pregnant rats, intravenous administration of VUMON, 0.1 to 3 mg/kg (0.6-18 mg/m²), every second day from day 6 to day 16 post coitum caused dose-related embryotoxicity and teratogenicity. Major anomalies included spinal and rib defects, deformed extremities, anophthalmia, and celosomia.
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. If VUMON is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while receiving this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus. Women of childbearing potential should be advised to avoid becoming pregnant during therapy with VUMON.
In animal studies, VUMON caused a decrease in sperm count and genetic damage to sperm. No studies have been done to demonstrate the effect of these changes on human sperm and male fertility. Young men of reproductive age should be advised of the possibility that VUMON treatment may compromise their ability to father a child and that there is some possibility for birth defects if they do. They should be counseled on the possibility of storing sperm for future artificial insemination.
In all instances where the use of VUMON is considered for chemotherapy, the physician must evaluate the need and usefulness of the drug against the risk of adverse reactions. Most such adverse reactions are reversible if detected early. If severe reactions occur, the drug should be reduced in dosage or discontinued and appropriate corrective measures should be taken according to the clinical judgment of the physician. Reinstitution of VUMON therapy should be carried out with caution, and with adequate consideration of the further need for the drug and alertness as to possible recurrence of toxicity.
VUMON must be administered as an intravenous infusion. Care should be taken to ensure that the intravenous catheter or needle is in the proper position and functional prior to infusion. Improper administration of VUMON may result in extravasation causing local tissue necrosis and/or thrombophlebitis. In some instances, occlusion of central venous access devices has occurred during 24-hour infusion of VUMON at a concentration of 0.1 to 0.2 mg/mL. Frequent observation during these infusions is necessary to minimize this risk.
Periodic complete blood counts and assessments of renal and hepatic function should be done during the course of VUMON treatment. They should be performed prior to therapy and at clinically appropriate intervals during and after therapy. There should be at least one determination of hematologic status prior to therapy with VUMON.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Children at SJCRH with ALL in remission who received maintenance therapy with VUMON at weekly or twice weekly doses (plus other chemotherapeutic agents), had a relative risk of developing secondary acute nonlymphocytic leukemia (ANLL) approximately 12 times that of patients treated according to other less intensive schedules.
A short course of VUMON for remission-induction and/or consolidation therapy was not associated with an increased risk of secondary ANLL, but the number of patients assessed was small. The potential benefit from VUMON must be weighed on a case by case basis against the potential risk of the induction of a secondary leukemia. The carcinogenicity of teniposide has not been studied in laboratory animals. Compounds with similar mechanisms of action and mutagenicity profiles have been reported to be carcinogenic and teniposide should be considered a potential carcinogen in humans. Teniposide has been shown to be mutagenic in various bacterial and mammalian genetic toxicity tests. These include positive mutagenic effects in the Ames/Salmonella and B. subtilis bacterial mutagenicity assays. Teniposide caused gene mutations in both Chinese hamster ovary cells and mouse lymphoma cells and DNA damage as measured by alkaline elution in human lung carcinoma derived cell lines. In addition, teniposide induced aberrations in chromosome structure in primary cultures of human lymphocytes in vitro and in L5178y/TK +/- mouse lymphoma cells in vitro . Chromosome aberrations were observed in vivo in the embryonic tissue of pregnant Swiss albino mice treated with teniposide. Teniposide also caused a dose-related increase in sister chromatid exchanges in Chinese hamster ovary cells, and it has been shown to be embryotoxic and teratogenic in rats receiving teniposide during organogenesis. Treatment of pregnant rats intravenously with doses between 1.0 and 3.0 mg/kg/day on alternate days from day 6 to 16 post coitum caused retardation of embryonic development, prenatal mortality, and fetal abnormalities.
Pregnancy Category D
It is not known whether this drug is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of VUMON therapy to the mother.
Adverse events were evaluated in 7 studies involving 303 patients (age range 0.5 months to 20 years) who received VUMON as a single agent (see ADVERSE REACTIONS). No association between any particular age group and adverse effects was reported in any of these investigations.
Patients with Down Syndrome
Patients with both Down syndrome and leukemia may be especially sensitive to myelosuppressive chemotherapy, therefore, initial dosing with VUMON should be reduced in these patients. It is suggested that the first course of VUMON should be given at half the usual dose. Subsequent courses may be administered at higher dosages depending on the degree of myelosuppression and mucositis encountered in earlier courses in an individual patient.This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Last reviewed on RxList: 11/7/2011
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