Skip to Main Content

Welcome to

Together is a new resource for anyone affected by pediatric cancer - patients and their parents, family members, and friends.

Learn More



Brand names:


Other names:

VP-16, VePesid®

clipboard icon

About Etoposide

Etoposide is a type of chemotherapy. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cells. This medicine may be given in the clinic, hospital, or at home. The schedule and dose depends on the type of cancer, child’s age, and method of administration.

Patients will have regular blood draws to check blood counts and monitor liver and kidney function. Blood pressure will also be checked before and after IV administration.

tablet and capsule icon

May be taken as a capsule or liquid by mouth

iv bag icon

May be given as a liquid into a vein by IV

brain icon

May be given into the cerebrospinal fluid by intraventricular delivery (Ommaya reservoir)

exclamation mark in a circle icon

Possible Side Effects

  • Low blood pressure (IV form)
  • Liver problems
  • Hair loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low blood counts (may cause increased risk of infection, bleeding, anemia and/or fatigue)
  • Mouth sores
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin irritation, rash
  • Stomach pain
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Numbness or tingling of hands or feet

Not all patients who take etoposide 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.

late effects icon

Possible Late Effects

Some patients may experience long-term or late effects of treatment that may continue or develop months or years after treatment ends. Possible late effects due to etoposide include:

family icon

Tips for Families

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

  • While taking this medicine, do not eat grapefruit or Seville (bitter) oranges or drink juice or beverages containing grapefruit or Seville orange.
  • 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.
  • Caregivers should follow instructions for safe handling and disposal of the medicine and avoid contact with patient body fluids. Patient body fluids can contain the drug for 48 hours after it is given.

Etoposide at home:

  • Store capsules in the refrigerator. Capsules should be swallowed whole. Do not crush, chew, or break before swallowing.
  • Liquid etoposide can be stored at room temperature. Liquid etoposide can be mixed with orange juice or a flavored syrup immediately before it is taken. Syringes for liquid medicine should be thrown away after each use. Do not reuse.
  • If you miss a dose, give the missed dose as soon as possible. If it is near the time for the next dose, skip the dose. Do not give 2 doses at the same time.
  • Do not use past the expiration date on the label.
  • Follow instructions for safe handling and disposal.