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Brand names:


Other names:

Actinomycin, Actinomycin D

Often used for:

Sarcomas, Wilms tumor

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About Dactinomycin

Dactinomycin is a type of chemotherapy. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cells. Dactinomycin is usually used in combination with other medicines.

Dactinomycin can cause tissue damage if it leaks from the vein. Patients may have irritation and skin damage at the IV site. Let a caregiver know if there is burning during administration.

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Given as a liquid into a vein by IV

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Possible Side Effects

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Yellowing of the eyes
  • Liver problems
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Skin irritation at the IV site
  • Low blood counts (may cause increased risk of infection, bleeding, anemia and/or fatigue)
  • Hives and/or rash
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Mouth sores
  • Black and tarry stools
  • Blood in stools

Not all patients who receive dactinomycin will experience these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Please report all suspected side effects to your doctor or pharmacist.

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Tips for Families

Be sure to discuss these and other recommendations with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Sexually active patients should take steps to prevent pregnancy during treatment and for 6 months after completion of therapy.
  • Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • If dactinomycin is given after radiation therapy, the skin area that was exposed to radiation therapy may become red again.
  • Caregivers should follow instructions to avoid contact with patient body fluids, which can contain the drug for 48 hours after it is given.