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Cyclophosphamide

Information

Uses

Cyclophosphamide is used in the treatment of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and blood cancer

How it works

Cyclophosphamide works by damaging the genetic material (DNA) of the cancer cells and stops their growth and multiplication.

Common side effects

Fever, Blood in urine, Hair loss, Urinary tract infection, Mucosal inflammation, Decreased white blood cell count (neutrophils), Infection, Bone-marrow suppression

Available Medicine

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Expert advice

  • Monitor your blood counts with the help of regular blood tests while on treatment with cyclophosphamide.
  • Contact your doctor immediately if you experience difficulty in urinating, blood in urine or any other bladder/ kidney related problems while on treatment with cyclophosphamide.
  • Do not start treatment with cyclophosphamide if you are planning to receive any vaccine or if you have a surgery scheduled or you have had a surgical removal of the adrenal glands.
  • Take precautions as treatment with cyclophosphamide severely affects your immune system, increasing susceptibility to infections (e.g. pneumonia).
  • Caution must be exercised during use of cyclophosphamide in very ill patients, patients with kidney/liver disorders, lung problems and heart problems (related to QT prolongation and abnormal heartbeats).

Frequently asked questions

Cyclophosphamide

Q.

Is cyclophosphamide a cytotoxic drug?
Yes. Cyclophosphamide is chemotherapy and a cytotoxic drug used in the treatment of various cancers

Q.

Is cyclophosphamide chemotherapy?
It is toxic to cancer cells and interferes with the cell's DNA synthesis, thus slowing down or stopping its growth and multiplication (cytotoxic effect)

Q.

Is cyclophosphamide an antimetabolite/ steroid/ anthracycline?
No. Cyclophosphamide is an alkylating agent used in the treatment of various cancers. It is not an antimetabolite or anthracycline type of anti-cancer drug. It has a structure and effects different from steroids

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Q.

Is cyclophosphamide prodrug?
Yes. Cyclophosphamide is administered in the inactive form (prodrug) and gets converted to active form which has anti-cancer properties

Q.

Is cyclophosphamide a vesicant?
Cyclophosphamide is an irritant and can cause tissue inflammation at site of injection if its oozes out of the vein

Q.

Does cyclophosphamide have a boxed warning?
No. Cyclophosphamide does not have any specific boxed warning. Please discuss with your doctor about all the possible side effects and warnings relating to use of cyclophosphamide

Q.

Does cyclophosphamide cause hair loss/ infertility/ thrombocytopenia/ headaches/ hemorrhagic cystitis?
Yes. Hair loss (alopecia), infertility (in men and women), low platelet count (thrombocytopenia), headaches and inflammation of the urinary bladder (hemorrhagic cystitis) are among the known common side effects of cyclophosphamide use

Q.

Does cyclophosphamide come in liquid form?
No. Cyclophosphamide comes in a dry powder form that be reconstituted to make a solution for injection or oral liquid as directed

Q.

Is cyclophosphamide removed by plasma exchange?
Cyclophosphamide is unlikely to be removed by plasma exchange since a very low percentage of drug is bound to proteins in the plasma.


Content on this page was last updated on 26 February, 2017, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)