Consumer medicine information


Teniposide (ten IP oh side)

Consumer Medicine Information

What is in this leaflet

This leaflet answers some common questions about Vumon®. It does not contain all the available information. It does not take the place of talking to your doctor.

All medicines have risks and benefits. Your doctor has weighed the risks of you being given Vumon against the benefits they expect it will have for you.

If you have any concerns about taking this medicine, ask your doctor. Keep this leaflet. You may need to read it again.

What Vumon is used for

Vumon is used to treat types of cancer known as Hodgkin’s disease and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It may also be used to treat leukaemia, bladder cancer and brain cancer, as well as some other forms of cancer.

Vumon belongs to a group of medicines called cytotoxic medicines. You may also hear of these being called chemotherapy medicines.

Vumon works by killing cancer cells.

Vumon may be used in combination with other medicines to treat your cancer.

Your doctor may have prescribed Vumon for another reason. Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why Vumon has been prescribed for you.

This medicine is available only with a doctor’s prescription.

Before you are given Vumon

When you must not be given it

Do not have Vumon if you have an allergy to teniposide, polyoxyethylated castor oil or any of the other ingredients listed at the end of this leaflet, unless you have discussed it with your doctor.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include:

  • shortness of breath, wheezing, difficulty breathing or a tight feeling in your chest
  • swelling of the face, lips, tongue or other parts of the body
  • rash, itching, hives or flushed, red skin
  • dizziness or light headedness
  • fast heart beat

Do not have Vumon if you have, or have had, any of the following medical conditions unless you have discussed it with your doctor:

  • low white blood cell count
  • low blood platelet count
  • low red blood cell count
  • liver problems
  • kidney problems
  • lowered immunity due to treatment with medicines such as corticosteroids, cyclosporin or other medicines used to treat cancer
  • reduced bone marrow reserve

Tell your doctor if you have an infection or high temperature. Your doctor may decide to delay your treatment until the infection has gone. A mild illness, such as a cold, is not usually a reason to delay treatment.

You should advise your doctor if you have had surgery, radiotherapy or other cancer treatment recently.

Females: tell your doctor if you are pregnant or intend to become pregnant. Like most cytotoxic medicines, Vumon is not recommended for use during pregnancy. If there is any need to consider Vumon during your pregnancy, your doctor will discuss with you the benefits and risks of using it. Vumon may affect your developing baby if you are given it during pregnancy.

Males: tell your doctor if your partner intends to become pregnant while you are using Vumon or shortly after you have stopped using Vumon. As Vumon may decrease male fertility, preservation of sperm may be considered for the purpose of later fatherhood.

You should use some kind of birth control while you are using Vumon and for at least 12 weeks after you stop using it. Vumon may cause birth defects if either the male or female is using it at the time of conception.

Do not breastfeed while taking Vumon. It is not known whether Vumon passes into breast milk. Therefore there is a possibility that the breast-fed baby may be affected.

If you are not sure whether you should start having Vumon, talk to your doctor.

Before you are given it

Tell your doctor if you have allergies to:

  • any other medicines
  • any other substances, such as foods, preservatives or dyes

Tell your doctor if you have or have had any medical conditions, especially the following:

  • liver problems
  • kidney problems
  • heart problems, including a heart attack
  • lung problems, including asthma
  • blood disorder with a reduced number of red or white blood cells

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or you or your partner intend to become pregnant.

Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed.

If you have not told your doctor about any of the above, tell them before you start having Vumon.

Taking other medicines

Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, including any that you buy without a prescription from your pharmacy, supermarket or health food shop. Some medicines and Vumon may interfere with each other, especially medicines used in the management of seizures or epilepsy, such as phenytoin and phenobarbital. Also ensure that your doctor knows if you are taking tolbutamide, sodium salicylate or sulfamethiazole.

These medicines may be affected by Vumon, or may affect how well it works. You may need different amounts of your medicine, or you may need to have different medicines. Your doctor will advise you.

Vumon when used in combination with other medicines or radiation therapy may further depress your immune system.

Your doctor may have more information on medicines to be careful with or avoid while having Vumon.

How Vumon is given

How much is given

Your doctor will decide what dose you will receive. This depends on your condition and other factors, such as your weight, kidney function and other chemotherapy medicines you are being given.

Vumon may be given alone or in combination with other drugs.

Several courses of Vumon therapy may be needed depending on your response to treatment.

Additional treatment may not be repeated until your blood cell numbers return to acceptable levels and any uncontrolled effects have been controlled.

Ask your doctor if you want to know more about the dose of Vumon you receive.

How it is given

Vumon is given as an infusion (drip) into your veins.

How long it is given

The number of days of treatment you will receive and the rest period in between each treatment will be decided by your doctor. This is called one cycle of chemotherapy. Your doctor will decide how many of these cycles you will need.

If you take too much (overdose)

As Vumon is given to you under the supervision of your doctor, it is very unlikely that you will receive too much. However, if you experience any side effects after being given Vumon, tell your doctor or nurse immediately or go to Accident and Emergency at your nearest hospital. You may need urgent medical attention.

Symptoms of a Vumon overdose include the side effects listed below in the “Side Effects” section, but are usually of a more severe nature.

While you are using Vumon

Things you must do

Be sure to keep all your doctor’s appointments so your progress can be checked. Your doctor may want to check your blood pressure and do some blood and other tests from time to time to check on your progress and detect any unwanted side effects.

Keep follow up appointments with your doctor. It is important to have your follow-up infusions of Vumon at the appropriate times to get the best effects from your treatments.

If you forget a hospital appointment immediately contact your doctor.

Tell any other doctors, dentists and pharmacists who are treating you that you are having Vumon.

If you are about to be started on any new medicine, tell your doctor, dentist or pharmacist that you are having Vumon.

If you plan to have surgery that needs a general anaesthetic, tell your doctor or dentist that you are having Vumon.

If you become pregnant while having Vumon, tell your doctor.

Vumon can lower the number of white blood cells and platelets in your blood. This means that you have an increased chance of getting an infection or bleeding. The following precautions should be taken to reduce your risk of infection or bleeding:

  • Avoid people who have infections. Check with your doctor immediately if you think you may be getting an infection, or if you get a fever, chills, cough, hoarse throat, lower back or side pain or find it painful or difficult to urinate.
  • Be careful when using a toothbrush, toothpick or dental floss. Your doctor, dentist, nurse or pharmacist may recommend other ways to clean your teeth and gums. Check with your doctor before having any dental work.
  • Be careful not to cut yourself when you are using sharp objects such as a razor or nail cutters.
  • Avoid contact sports or other situations where you may bruise or get injured.

Things you must not do

Do not drink alcohol while taking Vumon. You may feel flushed or get headaches.

Things to be careful of

Be careful driving or operating machinery until you know how Vumon affects you. As with other anticancer medicines, Vumon may cause nausea, dizziness or tiredness in some people. Make sure you know how you react to Vumon before you drive a car, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy or tired. If this occurs do not drive. If you drink alcohol, dizziness or tiredness may be worse.

Side effects

Tell your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are having Vumon. Like other medicines that treat cancer, Vumon may have unwanted side effects, some of which may be serious. You may need medical treatment if you get some of the side effects.

Ask your doctor to answer any questions you may have.

Tell your doctor or nurse if you notice any of the following and they worry you. These are the more common side effects of Vumon.

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite (anorexia), sore mouth
  • Hair loss or thinning of hair
  • Rash, itchy skin, hives

Tell your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if you notice any of the following.

These may be serious side effects. You may need medical attention.

  • tiredness, headaches, short of breath when exercising, dizziness, looking pale, fast heart rate
  • Dizziness, light headedness, rapid heart beat, breathing faster than normal
  • infection; fever, chills, sore throat
  • bruising easily, bleeding longer than usual after minor cuts or scrapes, bleeding gums or nose bleeds, rash of small reddish-purple spots on your skin, blood in your stool or urine
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite with yellowing of the skin and eyes, increased bleeding, fatigue, weakness, confusion
  • numbness, tingling or pain in the hands or feet, muscle weakness
  • passing little or no urine, drowsiness, headache, weakness and fever

Tell your doctor immediately, or go to accident and emergency at your nearest hospital if you notice any of the following signs of a sudden life-threatening allergic reaction:

  • chills, fever, fast heart beat, wheezing or coughing, difficulty breathing, dizziness, flushing, sweating and swelling of the face, tongue or other parts of the body.

Other side effects not listed above may occur in some patients. Tell your doctor or nurse if you notice anything that is making you fell unwell.

Do not be alarmed by this list of possible side effects. You may not experience any of them.

After using Vumon

The benefits and side effects of Vumon may take some time to occur. Therefore even after you have finished your Vumon treatment you should tell your doctor immediately if you notice any of the side effects listed.


Vumon will be stored in the pharmacy or on the ward. The injection is kept in a cool, dry place, protected from light, where the temperature stays below 25°C.

Product description

What it looks like

Vumon injection: Clear, faintly yellow to yellow solution in clear glass ampoules

Ampoules each contain 50 mg teniposide in 5 mL solution. AUST R 19286.

Supplied in packs of 10.


Active ingredient:

  • teniposide

Other ingredients:

  • benzyl alcohol
  • dimethylacetamide
  • PEG-35 castor oil
  • maleic acid
  • ethanol

Sponsored by

Bristol-Myers Squibb Australia Pty Ltd,
4 Nexus Court, Mulgrave,
Victoria 3170, Australia

Date of Preparation: November 2012


Published by MIMS March 2013