Temozolomide (pronounced tee-mo-zol-o-mide) is a chemotherapy drug that is given as a treatment for some types of cancer. It is most commonly used to treat a type of brain tumour known as a glioma. This information describes temozolomide, how it is given and some of its possible side effects. It should ideally be read with our general information about chemotherapy and about your type of cancer.
If you have any further questions you can ask your doctor or nurse at the hospital where you are having your treatment, or speak to one of our cancer support service nurses.
The capsules should be swallowed whole with plenty of water and be taken at the same time every day on an empty stomach. It is important to make sure that you take the capsules exactly as you have been directed by your doctor.
Possible side effects
Each person’s reaction to chemotherapy is different. Some people have very few side effects, while others may experience more. The side effects described in this information will not affect everyone who is given temozolomide, and may be different if you are having more than one chemotherapy drug.
We have outlined the most common side effects and those that are less common, so that you can be aware of them if they occur. However, we have not included those that are very rare and therefore extremely unlikely to affect you. If you notice any effects which you think may be due to the drug, but which are not listed in this information, please discuss them with your doctor or chemotherapy nurse.
Lowered resistance to infection Temozolomide can reduce the production of white blood cells by the bone marrow, making you more prone to infection. This effect can begin seven days after treatment has been given, and your resistance to infection usually reaches its lowest point 10–14 days after chemotherapy. Your blood cells will then increase steadily and will usually have returned to normal levels within 21–28 days.