Hycamtin (topotecan) capsules have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat relapsed small cell lung cancer (SCLC), maker GlaxoSmithKline said Monday.
About 15 percent of lung cancer patients have SCLC, a fast-growing cancer that most often affects current or past smokers.
Approved for people who have completely or partially responded to chemotherapy, the drug will be available in 2008, Glaxo said in a statement.
Hycamtin, among a class of medicines called topoisomerase I inhibitors, may increase users' risk of neutropenia, a drop in white blood cell count that boosts a person's risk of infection. Other potential side effects include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, and hair loss (alopecia).