Your doctor has ordered the drug amifostine to help treat your illness. The drug is given by injection into a vein.
This medication is used to:
- protect the kidneys against the harmful effects of the cancer-fighting drug cisplatin in patients with ovarian cancer or lung cancer
- reduce the severe dry mouth caused by radiation treatment after surgery for head and neck cancer
Amifostine is in a class of drugs known as chemoprotectants; it protects against the harmful effects of cisplatin and radiation treatment. The length of treatment depends on the types of drugs you are taking, how well your body responds to them, and the type of cancer you have.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before taking amifostine,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to amifostine or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention medications for high blood pressure. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney disease, chest pain (angina), irregular heartbeats, heart failure, a stroke, or a mini-stroke.
- women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should tell their doctors before they begin taking this drug. You should not plan to have children while receiving chemotherapy or for a while after treatments. (Talk to your doctor for further details.) Use a reliable method of birth control to prevent pregnancy.
- you should know that the most common side effect of amifostine is a decrease in blood pressure, which may start while the drug is being given and lasts about 6 minutes. You will be told to lie on your back and your blood pressure will be checked regularly during your treatment. Your doctor may order fluids to be given by injection into a vein to help improve your blood pressure.
Amifostine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- flushing (feeling of warmth)
- chills ( feeling of coldness)
- dizziness or lightheadedness
Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them, call your doctor immediately:
- shortness of breath
- chest tightness
- skin rash
- swelling of the throat
Amifostine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this drug.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at Web Site] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
- You will probably be given anti-nausea medication before and during amifostine administration.
- Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your body's response to amifostine.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Selected Revisions: February 11, 2012.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a
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