Dactinomycin (Cosmegen®, Actinomycin D)

OncoLink Team
Last Modified: September 21, 2015

Pronounced: DAK-tin-oh-MYE-sin

Classification: Antitumor Antibiotic About Dactinomycin Dactinomycin is a type of antibiotic that is able to kill cancer cells. It exerts its effect by inhibiting RNA, a compound that is essential for cells to live. Through this mechanism, Dactinomycin slows or stops the growth of cancer cells in your body. How to Take Dactinomycin Dactinomycin is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office or through intravenous (into a vein) infusion, over a period of 20-30 minutes. The dosage and schedule is determined by the person's size, type of cancer, and mode of administration. It can be given alone or with other drugs.Even when carefully and correctly administered by trained personnel, this drug may cause feeling of burning and pain. There is a risk that this medication may leak out of the vein at the injection site, resulting in tissue damage that can be severe. If the area of injection becomes red, swollen, or painful at anytime during or after the injection, notify your doctor or nurse immediately. Do not apply anything to the site unless instructed by your doctor or nurse. Possible Side Effects There are a number of things you can do to manage the side effects of dactinomycin.

About Dactinomycin (Cosmegen®, Actinomycin D)

Dactinomycin is a type of antibiotic that is able to kill cancer cells. It exerts its effect by inhibiting RNA, a compound that is essential for cells to live. Through this mechanism, Dactinomycin slows or stops the growth of cancer cells in your body.

Patients can develop an inflammation of the lungs (called pneumonitis) while taking this medication. Notify your healthcare provider right away if you develop any new or worsening symptoms, including shortness of breath, trouble breathing, cough or fever.

Liver Toxicity

This medication can cause liver toxicity, which your doctor may monitor for using blood tests called liver function tests. Notify your healthcare provider if you notice yellowing of the skin or eyes, your urine appears dark or brown or pain in your abdomen, as these can be signs of liver toxicity.

Sexual & Reproductive Concerns

This drug may affect your reproductive system, resulting in the menstrual cycle or sperm production becoming irregular or stopping permanently. Women may experience menopausal effects including hot flashes and vaginal dryness. In addition, the desire for sex may decrease during treatment.

Exposure of an unborn child to this medication could cause birth defects, so you should not become pregnant or father a child while on this medication. Effective birth control is necessary during treatment and for several months after treatment, even if your menstrual cycle stops or you believe you are not producing sperm. You may want to consider sperm banking or egg harvesting if you may wish to have a child in the future. Discuss these options with your oncology team.

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