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Temozolomide (Temodar)

Article Translations: (Spanish)

How does this medicine work?

Temozolomide (te-moh-zol-oh-mide) destroys cancer cells in all phases of cell life.

How is it given?

Temozolomide is given by mouth. It comes in capsule form and should be swallowed whole. It should be given at regular times to keep a steady level in the bloodstream.

___ For children who cannot swallow capsules:

  1. Put on gloves.
  2. Open capsule inside a clear plastic bag.
  3. Mix the powder with a very small amount (1 teaspoon) of applesauce or apple juice. Make sure your child takes all of the mixture.
  4. Wash spoons and container right after use. Discard the plastic bag and gloves.

Are there any precautions about food or other medications?

Temozolomide should be taken on an empty stomach with water or juice only, to reduce nausea and to help the body to absorb and use the medicine. It needs to be taken at a consistent time each day with regard to meals.

Check with the doctor, nurse practitioner, or pharmacist before giving any other prescription or non-prescription medicines, herbs, or vitamins.

What should I do if a dose is missed?

If a dose is missed, give it as soon as you remember that day. Never give a double dose.

If your child vomits within 30 minutes after receiving a dose, give it again. If your child vomits after 30 minutes, do not repeat the dose.

Call the oncology clinic if more than one dose is missed or vomited.

What are the side effects?


  • low blood counts 
  • nausea 
  • vomiting 
  • constipation
  • headaches


  • hair loss
  • mouth sores 
  • fatigue 
  • liver problems 
  • skin rash 
  • coordination problems

When should I call the doctor?

  • fever or chills 
  • mouth sores 
  • continued vomiting or diarrhea 
  • bleeding or unusual bruising 
  • skin rash 
  • change in coordination
  • increasing headache 
  • no bowel movement for 2 days or longer 
  • signs of an allergic reaction
    • rash or hives
    • wheezing

What else do I need to know?

All caregivers should wear gloves when handling urine, stool, and vomit while your child is receiving the chemotherapy and for 48 hours afterward. Urine, stool, and vomit can be safely disposed of in septic tanks and the sewer system.

Any clothing or bed linens that are contaminated with urine, stool, or vomit should be washed separately from other laundry in hot water and detergent. Anyone handling the contaminated laundry should wear gloves.

Before starting temozolomide, a pregnancy test will be done on any girl who has begun menstruating.

Blood samples will be needed to watch the effects of the medicine.

A high-fiber diet or stool softener may be given to prevent or treat constipation.

Good mouth care will help prevent mouth sores.

You and your child should know the names of all the medicines he or she is taking. Share this information with anyone involved in your child's care.

Always make sure you have enough medicine on hand. Each time you refill the prescription, check to see how many refills are left. If no refills are left the pharmacy will need 2 or 3 days to contact the clinic to renew the prescription.

Check the label for the expiration date. Bring outdated or extra medicines back to the clinic or pharmacy for disposal. Do not flush them down the toilet or throw them in the garbage.

Store all medicines in their original containers and away from direct sunlight or heat. Do not store in humid places such as the bathroom. Keep them out of children's reach, locked up if possible.

If too much or the wrong kind of chemotherapy medicine is taken, call the oncology clinic right away. If your child is unconscious or has a seizure, call 911.


This is not specific to your child but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call the oncology clinic or pharmacy.

Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
Last reviewed 8/2015 

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