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Myelosuppression, Immunosuppression, Bone Marrow Failure and Infections
Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide) can cause myelosuppression (leukopenia, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia and anemia), bone marrow failure, and severe immunosuppression which may lead to serious and sometimes fatal infections, including sepsis and septic shock. Latent infections can be reactivated [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].
Antimicrobial prophylaxis may be indicated in certain cases of neutropenia at the discretion of the managing physician. In case of neutropenic fever, antibiotic therapy is indicated. Antimycotics and/or antivirals may also be indicated.
Monitoring of complete blood counts is essential during cyclophosphamide treatment so that the dose can be adjusted, if needed. Cyclophosphamide should not be administered to patients with neutrophils ≤ 1,500/mm³ and platelets < 50,000/mm³. Cyclophosphamide treatment may not be indicated, or should be interrupted, or the dose reduced, in patients who have or who develop a serious infection. G-CSF may be administered to reduce the risks of neutropenia complications associated with cyclophosphamide use. Primary and secondary prophylaxis with G-CSF should be considered in all patients considered to be at increased risk for neutropenia complications. The nadirs of the reduction in leukocyte count and thrombocyte count are usually reached in weeks 1 and 2 of treatment. Peripheral blood cell counts are expected to normalize after approximately 20 days. Bone marrow failure has been reported. Severe myelosuppression may be expected particularly in patients pretreated with and/or receiving concomitant chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
Urinary Tract and Renal Toxicity
Hemorrhagic cystitis, pyelitis, ureteritis, and hematuria have been reported with cyclophosphamide. Medical and/or surgical supportive treatment may be required to treat protracted cases of severe hemorrhagic cystitis. Discontinue cyclophosphamide therapy in case of severe hemorrhagic cystitis. Urotoxicity (bladder ulceration, necrosis, fibrosis, contracture and secondary cancer) may require interruption of cyclophosphamide treatment or cystectomy. Urotoxicity can be fatal. Urotoxicity can occur with short-term or long-term use of cyclophosphamide.
Before starting treatment, exclude or correct any urinary tract obstructions [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]. Urinary sediment should be checked regularly for the presence of erythrocytes and other signs of urotoxicity and/or nephrotoxicity. Cyclophosphamide should be used with caution, if at all, in patients with active urinary tract infections. Aggressive hydration with forced diuresis and frequent bladder emptying can reduce the frequency and severity of bladder toxicity. Mesna has been used to prevent severe bladder toxicity.
Supraventricular arrhythmias (including atrial fibrillation and flutter) and ventricular arrhythmias (including severe QT prolongation associated with ventricular tachyarrhythmia) have been reported after treatment with regimens that included cyclophosphamide.
The risk of cardiotoxicity may be increased with high doses of cyclophosphamide, in patients with advanced age, and in patients with previous radiation treatment to the cardiac region and/or previous or concomitant treatment with other cardiotoxic agents.
Particular caution is necessary in patients with risk factors for cardiotoxicity and in patients with preexisting cardiac disease.
Monitor patients with risk factors for cardiotoxicity and with pre-existing cardiac disease.
Pneumonitis, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary veno-occlusive disease and other forms of pulmonary toxicity leading to respiratory failure have been reported during and following treatment with cyclophosphamide. Late onset pneumonitis (greater than 6 months after start of cyclophosphamide) appears to be associated with increased mortality. Pneumonitis may develop years after treatment with cyclophosphamide.
Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of pulmonary toxicity.
Cyclophosphamide is genotoxic [see Nonclinical Toxicology]. Secondary malignancies (urinary tract cancer, myelodysplasia, acute leukemias, lymphomas, thyroid cancer, and sarcomas) have been reported in patients treated with cyclophosphamide-containing regimens. The risk of bladder cancer may be reduced by prevention of hemorrhagic cystitis.
Veno-occlusive Liver Disease
Veno-occlusive liver disease (VOD) including fatal outcome has been reported in patients receiving cyclophosphamide-containing regimens. A cytoreductive regimen in preparation for bone marrow transplantation that consists of cyclophosphamide in combination with whole-body irradiation, busulfan, or other agents has been identified as a major risk factor. VOD has also been reported to develop gradually in patients receiving long-term low-dose immunosuppressive doses of cyclophosphamide. Other risk factors predisposing to the development of VOD include preexisting disturbances of hepatic function, previous radiation therapy of the abdomen, and a low performance status.
Cyclophosphamide can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman [see Use In Specific Populations]. Exposure to cyclophosphamide during pregnancy may cause birth defects, miscarriage, fetal growth retardation, and fetotoxic effects in the newborn. Cyclophosphamide is teratogenic and embryo-fetal toxic in mice, rats, rabbits and monkeys.
Advise female patients of reproductive potential to avoid becoming pregnant and to use highly effective contraception during treatment and for up to 1 year after completion of therapy [see Use in Specific Populations].
Male and female reproductive function and fertility may be impaired in patients being treated with cyclophosphamide. Cyclophosphamide interferes with oogenesis and spermatogenesis. It may cause sterility in both sexes. Development of sterility appears to depend on the dose of cyclophosphamide, duration of therapy, and the state of gonadal function at the time of treatment. Cyclophosphamide-induced sterility may be irreversible in some patients. Advise patients on the potential risks for infertility [see Use in Specific Populations].
Impairment of Wound Healing
Cyclophosphamide may interfere with normal wound healing.
Hyponatremia associated with increased total body water, acute water intoxication, and a syndrome resembling SIADH (syndrome of inappropriate secretion of antidiuretic hormone), which may be fatal, has been reported.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Cyclophosphamide administered by different routes, including intravenous, subcutaneous or intraperitoneal injection, or in drinking water, caused tumors in both mice and rats. In addition to leukemia and lymphoma, benign and malignant tumors were found at various tissue sites, including urinary bladder, mammary gland, lung, liver, and injection site [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Cyclophosphamide was mutagenic and clastogenic in multiple in vitro and in vivo genetic toxicology studies.
Cyclophosphamide is genotoxic in male and female germ cells. Animal data indicate that exposure of oocytes to cyclophosphamide during follicular development may result in a decreased rate of implantations and viable pregnancies, and in an increased risk of malformations. Male mice and rats treated with cyclophosphamide show alterations in male reproductive organs (e.g., decreased weights, atrophy, changes in spermatogenesis), and decreases in reproductive potential (e.g., decreased implantations and increased post-implantation loss) and increases in fetal malformations when mated with untreated females [see Use In Specific Populations].
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category D - Risk Summary
Cyclophosphamide can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman based on its mechanism of action and published reports of effects in pregnant patients or animals. Exposure to cyclophosphamide during pregnancy may cause fetal malformations, miscarriage, fetal growth retardation, and toxic effects in the newborn. Cyclophosphamide is teratogenic and embryo-fetal toxic in mice, rats, rabbits and monkeys. If this drug is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, apprise the patient of the potential hazard to a fetus.
Malformations of the skeleton, palate, limbs and eyes as well as miscarriage have been reported after exposure to cyclophosphamide in the first trimester. Fetal growth retardation and toxic effects manifesting in the newborn, including leukopenia, anemia, pancytopenia, severe bone marrow hypoplasia, and gastroenteritis have been reported after exposure to cyclophosphamide.
Administration of cyclophosphamide to pregnant mice, rats, rabbits and monkeys during the period of organogenesis at doses at or below the dose in patients based on body surface area resulted in various malformations, which included neural tube defects, limb and digit defects and other skeletal anomalies, cleft lip and palate, and reduced skeletal ossification.
Cyclophosphamide is present in breast milk. Neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, low hemoglobin, and diarrhea have been reported in infants breast fed by women treated with cyclophosphamide. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from cyclophosphamide, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.
Pre-pubescent girls treated with cyclophosphamide generally develop secondary sexual characteristics normally and have regular menses. Ovarian fibrosis with apparently complete loss of germ cells after prolonged cyclophosphamide treatment in late pre-pubescence has been reported. Girls treated with cyclophosphamide who have retained ovarian function after completing treatment are at increased risk of developing premature menopause.
Pre-pubescent boys treated with cyclophosphamide develop secondary sexual characteristics normally, but may have oligospermia or azoospermia and increased gonadotropin secretion. Some degree of testicular atrophy may occur. Cyclophosphamide-induced azoospermia is reversible in some patients, though the reversibility may not occur for several years after cessation of therapy.
There is insufficient data from clinical studies of cyclophosphamide available for patients 65 years of age and older to determine whether they respond differently than younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac functioning, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.
Females and Males of Reproductive Potential
Pregnancy should be avoided during treatment with cyclophosphamide because of the risk of fetal harm [see Use in Specific Populations].
Female patients of reproductive potential should use highly effective contraception during and for up to 1 year after completion of treatment.
Male patients who are sexually active with female partners who are or may become pregnant should use a condom during and for at least 4 months after treatment.
Amenorrhea, transient or permanent, associated with decreased estrogen and increased gonadotropin secretion develops in a proportion of women treated with cyclophosphamide. Affected patients generally resume regular menses within a few months after cessation of therapy. The risk of premature menopause with cyclophosphamide increases with age. Oligomenorrhea has also been reported in association with cyclophosphamide treatment.
Animal data suggest an increased risk of failed pregnancy and malformations may persist after discontinuation of cyclophosphamide as long as oocytes/follicles exist that were exposed to cyclophosphamide during any of their maturation phases. The exact duration of follicular development in humans is not known, but may be longer than 12 months [see Nonclinical Toxicology].
Men treated with cyclophosphamide may develop oligospermia or azoospermia which are normally associated with increased gonadotropin but normal testosterone secretion.
Use in Patients with Renal Impairment
In patients with severe renal impairment, decreased renal excretion may result in increased plasma levels of cyclophosphamide and its metabolites. This may result in increased toxicity [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]. Monitor patients with severe renal impairment (CrCl =10 mL/min to 24 mL/min) for signs and symptoms of toxicity.
Cyclophosphamide and its metabolites are dialyzable although there are probably quantitative differences depending upon the dialysis system being used. In patients requiring dialysis, use of a consistent interval between cyclophosphamide administration and dialysis should be considered.
Use in Patients with Hepatic Impairment
Patients with severe hepatic impairment have reduced conversion of cyclophosphamide to the active 4hydroxyl metabolite, potentially reducing efficacy [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Last reviewed on RxList: 6/13/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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