What Cisplatin is and what it is used for?
- Cisplatin, a platinum compound, is an alkylating agent that exerts its anticancer activity by reacting with DNA and interfering with DNA replication and cell division. This stops the growth and spread of cancer cell in the body.
- Cisplatin is used as a single agent or in combination with other medicines to treat testicular, ovarian, bladder, head and neck, lung, and cervical cancer. This drug also may be used to treat other cancers, as determined by your doctor.
How Cisplatin is given?
- Cisplatin is given as a slow infusion into the vein. The infusion time is dependent on the treatment plan.
What should I know while receiving Cisplatin?
- An allergic reaction may happen during or shortly after the infusion, causing fever and chills, breathing difficulties, swelling of throat or face, or hives. Tell your nurse right away if you feel unwell during an infusion.
- You will receive a large amount of IV fluids and a medicine called mannitol before and after cisplatin infusion to prevent kidney damage.
- Do not receive this drug when you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Men and women should use effective contraception during treatment and for at least 6 months after the treatment ends.
- Cisplatin may affect fertility. You can talk to your doctor about methods of preserving fertility before treatment starts.
- Do not receive any kind of vaccination without doctor's approval.
- You will have regular blood and urine test to check that you have enough blood cells and have sufficient kidney functions to receive cisplatin. The dose and timing of your treatment may be changed based on the test results or other side effects.
- The existing health problems may affect the use of cisplatin. You should let your doctor know if you have any other medical problems, especially if you have kidney and hearing problems, or long-term numbness and tingling in hands or feet.
- There are many drugs may affect how cisplatin works. Tell your doctor about all the medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Common side effects
- Low white blood cell count
You may have a higher risk of getting infections. Try to stay away from crowds and wash hands often. Tell your doctor right away if you have repeated fevers, coughing, stuffy nose, a painful urination or wound that becomes red and swollen.
- Numbness or tingling in hands or feet
This may last as long as therapy is continued. In some people, the symptoms will get better after treatment ends, but for some this may be permanent. Protect areas where sensation is decreased and let your doctor know any unusual feeling you have.
- Nausea and vomiting
Medicines may be given before the treatment to prevent it happening. Eating and drinking often in small amounts may reduce the discomfort.
- Hearing problems
Hearing loss and ringing in the ears can happen alone or together. This can affect your quality of life. Tell your doctor if you have any hearing changes during or after treatment.
- Electrolyte imbalance (such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium levels)
Symptoms are different with each salt. You may feel weak or numb, have muscle spasms, or twitch. Your heart may beat fast or blood pressure may change. Your doctor will monitor your electrolyte levels and may prescribe specific electrolytes to be given by intravenous injection or taken by mouth.
- Kidney damage
Cisplatin can affect how your kidney works. Symptoms include the inability to urinate, decreased urination, swelling in the arms and legs, a big weight gain, or pain in lower back. Seek medical help at once if you have any of these symptoms.
Talk to your doctor and ask for advice. Drinking plenty of water and dietary changes can improve diarrhea.
- Loss of appetite
Try to eat in small quantities and have frequent meals. If your appetite doesn't get any better after a few days, talk to the doctor.
- Taste alteration
Foods may taste differently or you may have a metallic taste in the mouth. Taste may return slowly after the treatment has ended.
Less common side effects
- Low red blood cell count
You may look pale and get tired more easily. Let your doctor know if you experience any difficulty breathing or dizziness when changing positions.
- Low platelet count
You may have a higher risk of bleeding. Let your doctor know if you find red or purple dots on the skin, bleeding from the nose or gums, or any bruising or bleeding that you cannot explain.
- Changes in liver function
This is usually mild and unlikely to cause symptoms. The functions may return to normal after treatment ends. Seek medical help if you have yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark or brown urine, or pain in abdomen, as these can be signs of liver toxicity.
- Your doctor may ask you to drink at least 6 to 8 cups of water every day. This helps to prevent kidney problems.
- Alcohol and cigarettes may interfere with certain medicines or worsen side effects from chemotherapy treatment. It is wise to avoid alcohol and cigarette smoking during cancer treatment. If you have any problem about drinking alcohol and smoking, you should check with your doctor.