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What is temozolomide?

Temozolomide (also called Temodar®) is used to treat certain types of cancer. Temozolomide is taken by mouth and is available as a 5 mg, 20 mg, 100 mg, 180 mg, and 250 mg capsule.

How to give temozolomide

  • Your dose of temozolomide will change as you grow. It may also change based on how well you tolerate this medicine.
  • Read the directions on the bottle carefully to make sure you take this medicine correctly. The strength and amount of capsules to take may change often. If you are concerned about a new capsule or dose, please call the pharmacist to make sure you have the right dose and capsule strength.
  • This medicine is usually taken one (1) time a day for 5 days, every 28 days. This is called a 28- day treatment cycle. Take temozolomide for 5 days, then do not take temozolomide for 23 days. The number of treatment cycles you will have depends on how well your tumor responds to this medicine.
  • Taking temozolomide on an empty stomach or at bedtime may help prevent stomach upset. Your doctor may order other medicines for stomach upset. Take these medicines as directed.
  • Always take all the capsules for each day’s dose at one (1) time with a full glass of water.
  • Try to take each day’s dose at the same time each day.
  • Swallow the temozolomide capsules whole. Do not split, or chew the capsules. If you are unable to swallow the capsule, open the capsule and dissolve in a small amount of apple juice or mix in a small amount of applesauce. Be careful to avoid inhaling the powder from the capsules. Do not get the powder anywhere on your skin, in your nose, or in your mouth.

Possible side effects of temozolomide

  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mouth sores
  • Unusual tired feeling
  • Headache
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Skin rash
  • Mild hair loss
  • Low blood counts
  • Abnormal liver function tests

These are the most common side effects, but there may be others. Please report all side effects to the doctor or nurse.

In case of a severe side effect or reaction, call the doctor, nurse, or pharmacist at 901-595-3300. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833), and press 0 once the call is connected.

Special instructions for temozolomide

  • Blood tests can find some side effects. It is very important that you come to the clinic regularly for blood tests.
  • Temozolomide capsules may be stored at room temperature. Keep this medicine out of reach of children and pets.
  • Because temozolomide may cause birth defects, do not take this medicine if you are pregnant. Both men and women who are taking temozolomide should use effective birth control methods. 
  • It is not known whether temozolomide passes into breast milk. Because this medicine might cause serious harm to a nursing infant, women who are taking temozolomide should not breast-feed.
  • If you have had an allergic reaction to dacarbazine (DTIC), you should not take temozolomide. You may have an allergic reaction to temozolomide.

Safe handling of temozolomide

All chemotherapy drugs taken by mouth can pose a health hazard to caregivers and patients. You should be careful when handling this medicine and try to keep the drug from touching the skin. Taking precautions will ensure that both the patient and the caregiver are protected as well as possible.

  • Prepare a clean area where the drug can be handled safely (away from areas where food is prepared, out of the reach of children, and out from under any air vents or fans).
  • We suggest you or the caregiver wear gloves while handling this medicine. Wash your hands right away if your skin comes in contact with the medicine.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).