This information will give you a general idea about the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included. Ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.
Medications may help to either prevent, reduce, or manage side effects. You can develop side effects from the treatment and/or from the cancer itself. The medications are typically anti-nauseants, corticosteroids, painkillers, blood stem cell support, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Tell your doctor when you notice a new symptom. Ask if any of these medications are appropriate for you.
Anti-nauseants, also called anti-emetics, are given to help treat and or prevent nausea and vomiting that might be induced by
, or surgery.
Narcotics act on the central nervous system to relieve pain. These drugs can be very effective. However, they must be used with great caution because they can be mentally and/or physically addicting. If you are going to take one of these drugs for a long period of time, your doctor will closely monitor you.
Percocet is a combination medication. A narcotic analgesic and acetaminophen used together may provide better pain relief than either medicine used alone. In some cases, lower doses of each medicine are necessary to achieve pain relief.
The most common side effects of narcotics include:
Constipation (very common)
Dizziness, light-headedness, or feeling faint
Nausea or vomiting
Blood Stem Cell Support Drugs
During cancer treatment, blood cells can be destroyed along with cancer cells.
(Neupogen) helps your bone marrow make new white blood cells. White blood cells help your body fight infection. Therefore, filgrastim helps to reduce your risk of infection.
(Epogen, Procrit) helps your bone marrow to make new red blood cells. Low red blood cell levels can lead to
. Therefore, epoetin helps reduce your risk of anemia. Epoetin is quite effective, but it has a two-week delay between the injection and when your red blood cell count really starts to come back. It is not used as a “quick fix” for a low red blood cell count; a blood transfusion is usually performed if you need to recover your red blood cell count more quickly.
Both filgrastim and epoetin are given by injection in your doctor's office.
Common side effects include:
Pain in arms or legs
Pain in joints or muscles
Pain in lower back or pelvis
Skin rash or itching
Cough, sneezing, or sore throat
Swelling of face, fingers, ankles, feet, or lower legs
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