What oxaliplatin is and what it is used for?
- Oxaliplatin, 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.
- Oxaliplatin is used in combination with other medicines to treat colon and rectal cancer that has spread or colon cancer after surgical removal of the tumor. It may also be used to treat other cancers, such as pancreatic and stomach cancer, as determined by your doctor.
How Oxaliplatin is given?
- Oxaliplatin is given as a infusion into the vein over 2 hours.
What should I know while receiving Oxalipaltin?
- 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.
- 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.
- This drug 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 liver and kidney functions to receive oxaliplatin. 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 oxaliplatin. You should let your doctor know if you have allergic to platinum-containing medicines or have any other medical problems, especially heart, lung, kidney, or nerve problems.
- Oxaliplatin may make your parts of body become very sensitive to cold. This can cause discomfort from things such as cold foods, cold objects or cold temperature. You may feel numbness or tingling in fingers and toes, tightness in throat or jaw, difficulty swallowing, or that you have pressure on chest. Protecting yourself from cold helps to prevent this side effects. Try not to drink cold beverages or eat cold foods for several days after treatment. If you must go out in cold weather, cover your skin and dress warmly.
Possible 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Peripheral neuropathy
Oxaliplatin can cause nerve damage. It usually start in the fingers or toes and may spread up to the arms or legs. Symptoms often described as numbness, tingling, or burning sensation in the hands or feet. This may last as long as therapy is continued and may become more severe. The symptoms usually get better slowly after treatment has ended, but for some people it never goes away completely. Tell your doctor if you have these symptoms and protect areas where sensation is decreased.
- Loss of appetite
Try to eat in small quantities and have frequent meals. If your appetite does not get any better after a few days, tell your doctor.
- Diarrhea or constipation
Your doctor can prescribe medicines for you. Drinking plenty of fluid and dietary changes may help ease discomforts.
- Mouth sores
Your doctor can give you medicines that help you ease the discomfort. Good mouth care will help prevent mouth sores.
- Weakness or fatigue
Try to pace yourself and rest as much as possible. Seek medical advice if fatigue does not go away when you rest and sleep.
- Changes in liver function
This is usually mild and may return to normal after treatment has ended. Seek medical help right away 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.
- There are many drugs may affect how oxaliplatin works. Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
- 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.
- Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water every day can help make your recovery a smoother process.