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Cyclophosphamide

Chemotherapy

Brand names:

Cytoxan®

Other names:

Cyclo, CPM, CTX

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About Cyclophosphamide

Cyclophosphamide is a type of chemotherapy. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells. It is usually used in combination with other drugs. It is also used to help prepare patients for hematopoietic cell transplant.

Cyclophosphamide can harm the kidneys and bladder. Patients receiving cyclophosphamide should drink plenty of fluids. They may receive IV fluids and a medicine called mesna to reduce the risk of bladder damage.

Patients will have regular blood draws to check blood counts and monitor liver and kidney function. In some cases, heart function may be assessed. Urine samples may be taken to check for blood in the urine.

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May be taken as a tablet, capsule or liquid by mouth

 
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May be given as a liquid into a vein by IV infusion

 
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Possible Side Effects

  • Changes in color of fingernails or toenails
  • Kidney or bladder problems
  • Blood in the urine or burning while urinating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bad taste in the mouth during IV infusion
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Mouth sores
  • Changes in skin color
  • Low blood counts (may cause increased risk of infection, bleeding, anemia and/or fatigue)
  • Poor or slow wound healing
  • Change in the normal menstrual cycle
  • Heart problems (at very high doses)

Not all patients who take cyclophosphamide will experience these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Please report all suspected side effects to your doctor or pharmacist.

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Possible Late Effects

Some patients may experience long-term or late effects of treatment that may continue or develop months or years after treatment ends. Possible late effects due to cyclophosphamide include:

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Tips for Families

Be sure to discuss these and other recommendations with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • A doctor may prescribe medicine to help with nausea and vomiting.
  • While taking cyclophosphamide, it is important to drink plenty of fluids and urinate often to flush the kidneys and bladder. Patients should follow the care team’s instructions for appropriate fluid intake.
  • This medicine may cause a bad taste in the mouth. Gum or candy may help hide the taste.
  • Avoid drinking grapefruit or Seville orange-containing beverages and eating grapefruit or Seville oranges while taking this medication.
  • Sexually active patients should take steps to prevent pregnancy during treatment and for 6 months after completion of therapy.
  • Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Caregivers should follow instructions for safe handling and disposal of the medicine and avoid contact with patient body fluids, which can contain the drug for 48 hours after it is given.

Cyclophosphamide at home:

  • Take medicine at the same time each day. Do not take at bedtime.
  • Take capsules on an empty stomach. A large number of capsules may be needed to make up the total dose. Talk to your care team about ways to make swallowing medicine easier.
  • Swallow capsules and tablets whole. Do not break, crush, or chew.
  • Give a missed dose as soon as possible. If it is near the time for the next dose, skip the dose. Do not give 2 doses at the same time.
  • Store cyclophosphamide at room temperature.
  • Do not use the medicine past the expiration date.
  • Follow instructions for safe handling and disposal.