Night Sweats and Irinotecan for March Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Night Sweats and Irinotecan

Reading About Night Sweats and Irinotecan?

As we’ve written before here and here, drugs for the treatment of cancers often elicit night sweats and hot flashes — night sweats and Irinotecan are no exception. It was brought to market in 1998 and is sold under various names – Camptosar® by trade, as well as Camptothecin-11 and CPT-11 of the generic varieties. It is used to treat small cell lung cancer and colon cancer. Irinotecan is an anti-cancer drug, also called an “antineoplastic” or “cytotoxic” chemotherapy drug. Classified as a “plant alkaloid” and “topoisomerase I inhibitor,” the drug works to destroy the mechanism by which the cells divide.

Irinotecan works to inhibit the action of topoisomerase enzymes (called topoisomerase I and II). Topoisomerase enzymes control the manipulation of the structure of DNA necessary for cancer’s replication. Irinotecan stops the replication. Cancerous tumors are groups of cells that that are defined by their inability to cease cell division like normal bodily cells. ‘Normal’ bodily cells quit dividing once they’re in contact with other like cells. Cancerous cells continue to replicate – this is where chemotherapy is useful.

Chemotherapy drugs like Irinotecan halt cell division, damaging the cancerous cell’s ability to replicate by manipulating its structure. As they become unable to replicate, they die, and the tumor shrinks. Drugs can also stimulate cell suicide, called self-death or apoptosis. Most effective at killing rapidly mutating and replicating cells, Chemotherapy does not differentiate between cancerous cells and normal cells. Though normal cells recover, the interim period is the cause of chemotherapy’s traditional side effects, from low blood cell counts and weakened immune systems, to hair loss, fever, and night sweats, as the body’s natural fighting abilities are diminished.

Irinotecan is a plant alkaloid drug derived from plants. Camptothecan originates from the Asian “Happy Tree,” called Camptotheca acuminata.  Podophyllotoxins and camptothecan analogs are also known as topoisomerase inhibitors, the inhibitors found within Irinotecan and its generic varieties – from which the drug’s name originates. Topoisomerase inhibitors like Irinotecan are drugs that interfere with the action of topoisomerase enzymes (topoisomerase I and II). Topoisomerase enzymes control the manipulation of the structure of DNA necessary for replication. Click to find out more about this drug.

Side effects like night sweats and hot flashes are common in almost all chemotherapy drugs, and many other drugs to treat a variety of health needs. These include aromatase inhibitors for breast cancer treatment, opioids for pain management, Tamoxifen for breast canacer, Tricyclic antidepressants, and steroids for swelling and cancer treatments. Night sweats and Irinotecan are now just as common.

As always, consult your doctor with any health needs. At Wicked Sheets, we’re the night sweat and hot flashes solution. Sleep well, sleep wicked.

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