Cyclophosphamide

Brand names of cyclophosphamide

  • Cytoxan
  • Neosar
  • Procytox

Cyclophosphamide is a prescription drug that is mainly used to treat various forms of cancer. In order to work effectively, this medication should initially be converted by the liver into two different chemicals - acrolein and phosphoramide. Both acrolein and phosphoramide are active compounds and they inhibit the development of cancerous cells by means of obstructing the actions of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) inside the cancer cells. Hence, cyclophosphamide is often referred to as a cytotoxic drug. However, it is unfortunate to note that the use of this medication often affects the normal cells of the body too and this leads to grave side effects. In addition, cyclophosphamide also holds back or represses the immune system and, hence, is also denoted as immunosuppressive.

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Things you need to tell your physician before taking cyclophosphamide

As with beginning treatment with any new drug, you need to adopt a number of precautions before you start taking cyclophosphamide. Prior to taking this drug for the first time, it is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any allergic reactions to cyclophosphamide or any other medications. Also tell your doctor or pharmacist about all the prescription and non-prescription (over-the-counter) drugs, especially aspirin, herbal products, vitamins, and nutritional supplements you take currently. In addition, tell your doctor about your entire medical conditions, especially if you have or have ever had any kidney problem.

Women patients taking cyclophosphamide ought to be aware of the fact that this medication may interfere with their regular menstrual cycle, while men using this medication should know that taking this medication may result in a decline in their sperm production. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to assume that the patient cannot get pregnant or get someone else pregnant while they are undergoing treatment with cyclophosphamide. Women, who intend to take this drug, should tell their doctor whether they are pregnant, planning to get pregnant or are breast feeding. In fact, patients who are receiving chemotherapy should not plan to have a child while they are being treated and also a few months after discontinuing the treatment. In order to avoid pregnancy during treatment with cyclophosphamide, the patients need to use a reliable contraceptive. It has been found that taking cyclophosphamide has the potential to harm the fetus. Hence, before taking this medication, talk to your doctor regarding the benefits and risks associated with using cyclophosphamide.

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It is important for people being treated with cyclophosphamide to drink more than the normal quota of fluids they take every day. As this medication may cause irritation to your kidneys and the bladder, it is important to pass urine more frequently to empty the bladder. This is all the more important for patients who have received chemotherapy previously also. While being treated with cyclophosphamide, the patients should not have any vaccination, for instance, flu shot, measles and others, without the approval of their doctor. It is important to know that using cyclophosphamide is related to development of different types of cancers. Hence, before you start taking this medication, talk to your doctor for further details regarding the potential hazards of developing a new type of cancer.

Usage

While cyclophosphamide alone is sufficiently effective in treating susceptible malignancies, it is generally used along with or consecutively with other antineoplastic medications. In effect, cyclophosphamide is used to treat different types of cancer, counting malignant lymphoma (a tumour developing from any cellular elements of lymph nodes), sarcoma (a malignant tumour generally developing from connective tissue), leukemia, multiple myeloma (a malevolent plasma cell tumour of the bone marrow that devastates bone tissue), breast cancer, retinoblastoma (an inheritable tumour of the eyes), as well as cancer of the ovaries.

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Cyclophosphamide is basically a chemotherapy drug that acts by inhibiting or preventing the growth of cancer cells. In addition, this medication also works by lessening the patient's response of the immune system to an assortment of diseases. Cyclophosphamide is also used to treat a precise type of kidney ailment in children when other medications have failed to yield the desired results. It is advisable to use this medication for any of the above mentioned medical conditions only if it has been prescribed by your doctor or healthcare professional. Cyclophosphamide may also be used to treat several other medical conditions, for instance, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis as well as to prevent the rejection of organ transplantation.

How to use cyclophosphamide

Cyclophosphamide is an oral medication available in tablet form and needs to be taken precisely as prescribed by your doctor. The dosage of this anti-cancer drug completely depends on the patient's medical condition, weight, response to the treatment as well as different chemotherapy medications or radiation treatments he/ she may be receiving currently. It is essential to drink plenty of fluids during treatment with cyclophosphamide and also urinate often with a view to completely empty the bladder every day in order to prevent any side effects of the kidneys and the liver. You should consult your doctor regarding the amount of fluids you ought to drink as well as how frequently you ought to empty the bladder daily. It is important that you follow these instructions precisely.

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It is advisable not to increase the dose of this medication or take it more frequently than what has been prescribed by your doctor. Before increasing the dosage or taking the medication more frequently, you ought to seek your doctor's approval. Remember, increasing the dosage of the medication or taking it more frequently will not help to improve your condition faster. On the other hand, it is likely to enhance the risks of grave side effects. As this medication can pass into the body through the skin pores, pregnant women or women who plan to become pregnant should not handle this medication or break the cyclophosphamide tablets.

In order to obtain the utmost benefits of using cyclophosphamide, it is important that you receive every scheduled dose of this medication as prescribed by your doctor. In the event of missing a dose, get in touch with your doctor immediately to arrange for a new dosing schedule. Never take a double dose of this medication with a view to catch up with the missed dose.

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How cyclophosphamide works

The anti-cancer prescription drug cyclophosphamide eliminates the cancer cells by means of obstructing the synthesis of their genetic substance (DNA), preventing the malignant cells from reproducing or replicating.

Side effects

Serious
  • chest tightness
  • shortness of breath
  • chest or abdominal pain
  • hoarseness
  • tiny bright red dots on the skin
  • unusual bruising
  • blood in the urine or stool
  • pain in the lower back or sides
  • persistent cough
  • breathing difficulty
  • fever and chills
  • unusual bleeding
  • painful or difficult urination
Common
Less common

Possible interactions

The prescription drug cyclophosphamide is known to interact with a number of medications, especially herbal products and/ or minerals. Hence, it is advisable not to use them concurrently. In addition, this medication should not be used in certain ailments.

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The anti-cancer drug cyclophosphamide should not be used by people when they notice any signs of infection, such as fever, sore throat, chills, cough and/ or flu-like symptoms. They should contact and inform their doctor regarding these problems as soon as they come to their notice. In effect, it is also likely that your doctor may instruct you to stop the usage of cyclophosphamide till these problems are cured. Hence, it is important to consult your doctor when you notice or experience any such problem while undergoing treatment with cyclophosphamide.

Storage instructions

Cyclophosphamide should always be stored in the container it came in. The container should be closed firmly and kept at a place that is beyond the reach of children and pets. Always store this medication at room temperature and at a dark and dry place. It needs to be mentioned that cyclophosphamide should never be stored in a place where there is too much heat and moisture. Never ever keep this medication in your bathroom, which is mostly damp.

When this medication becomes outdated or is needed no longer, dispose of it in a proper and safe manner. Unless directed otherwise, never dispose of the medication by flushing it down the toilet or pouring it down the drain. If required, seek the help of your pharmacist or the neighbourhood disposal company regarding the safe and appropriate manner to discard the medication no longer needed.

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