Generic Name: cyclophosphamide (oral and injection)
- What is cyclophosphamide?
- What are the possible side effects of cyclophosphamide?
- What is the most important information I should know about cyclophosphamide?
- What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking cyclophosphamide?
- How is cyclophosphamide given?
- What happens if I miss a dose?
- What happens if I overdose?
- What should I avoid while taking cyclophosphamide?
- What other drugs will affect cyclophosphamide?
- Where can I get more information?
What is cyclophosphamide?
Cyclophosphamide is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.
Cyclophosphamide is used to treat several types of cancer. Cyclophosphamide is also used to treat certain cases of nephrotic syndrome (kidney disease) in children.
Cyclophosphamide may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What are the possible side effects of cyclophosphamide?
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- blood in your urine or stools, pain or burning when you urinate;
- pale skin, feeling light-headed, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating;
- sudden chest pain or discomfort, wheezing, dry cough or hack, feeling short of breath on exertion;
- fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, sores in your mouth and throat;
- easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
- extreme thirst with headache, vomiting, and weakness;
- jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
- severe skin reaction -- fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.
Common side effects may include:
- nausea, loss of appetite, stomach pain or upset, diarrhea;
- temporary hair loss;
- a wound that will not heal;
- missed menstrual periods;
- changes in skin color; or
- changes in nails.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What is the most important information I should know about cyclophosphamide?
You should not use cyclophosphamide if you have severe bone marrow suppression.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking cyclophosphamide?
You should not use cyclophosphamide if you are allergic to it, or if you have severe bone marrow suppression.
To make sure cyclophosphamide is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- an active or recent infection;
- a weak immune system (caused by disease or by using certain medicines);
- heart disease;
- kidney disease;
- liver disease;
- if you are receiving other cancer treatments; or
- if you have ever received radiation treatment.
Using cyclophosphamide may increase your risk of developing other types of cancer, such as bladder cancer. Talk with your doctor about your specific risk.
Do not use cyclophosphamide if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.
This medication may affect fertility (your ability to have children), whether you are a man or a woman.
Cyclophosphamide can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using this medication.
How is cyclophosphamide given?
Follow the directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Cyclophosphamide is sometimes given as a pill or liquid. Cyclophosphamide may also be given as an injection into a vein through an IV. You will receive the injection in a clinic or hospital setting.
Drink plenty of liquids while you are using cyclophosphamide, to prevent harmful effects on your bladder.
Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
Cyclophosphamide can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. Your blood may need to be tested often.
If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using cyclophosphamide. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist how to safely handle this medicine. Cyclophosphamide can be harmful if it gets on your skin. If this occurs, wash thoroughly with soap and water.
Store cyclophosphamide tablets at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Store the liquid medicine in the refrigerator, do not freeze. Throw away any unused liquid after 14 days.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed oral dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the dose you missed and take only the next regularly scheduled dose as directed. Do not take a double dose of this medication.
Contact your doctor if you miss a dose of cyclophosphamide injection.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking cyclophosphamide?
This medicine can pass into body fluids (urine, feces, vomit). Caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up a patient's body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.
Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.
Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using cyclophosphamide, and for at least 3 months after your treatment ends. Also avoid coming into contact with anyone who has recently received a live vaccine. There is a chance that the virus could be passed on to you. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), rotavirus, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine.
What other drugs will affect cyclophosphamide?
Tell your doctor about all medications you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with cyclophosphamide, especially:
- phenobarbital (Solfoton); or
- drugs that weaken the immune system such as medicines to treat psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other autoimmune disorders.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with cyclophosphamide, including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
Where can I get more information?
Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about cyclophosphamide.
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