Cytoxan

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Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide) is an alkylating agent used as an immunosuppressant and chemotherapy treatment. The medication inhibits immune system activity and slows or stops the growth of cancer cells. Cytoxan is usually, but not always, used in combination with other medications.

In hospital settings Cytoxan is usually delivered via IV or injection; at home the medication is often administered via tablets, which are typically taken once per day. Duration of treatment will vary considerably depending on the condition and patient response. In general Cytoxan is used to quickly gain control of the condition; as soon as this is accomplished it will be replaced with milder medications less likely to produce serious side effects.

Uses of Cytoxan

A course of treatment with this medication is too variable to generalize. It is almost always prescribed to treat a major medical condition; as such other medications are likely being taken, which will influence dosage, as well as individual variables such as age, weight, and so forth will need to be taken into consideration.

For the duration of treatment regular check-ups will be necessary to ensure the medication is working and to monitor for potential developing complications. This is a critical aspect of treatment that should not be brushed off.

Cytoxan is effective at inhibiting a variety of cancers, including:

  • Lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Sarcoma
  • Breast cancer
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Myeloma/multiple myeloma
  • Mycosis fungoides
  • Eye cancer
  • Small cell lung cancer

Outside of cancer, Cytoxan is used to:

  • Treat nephrotic syndrome
  • Treat multiple sclerosis
  • Treat severe rheumatoid arthritis
  • Treat a range of severe autoimmune diseases
  • Inhibit rejection of an organ after organ transplant

Tablets are typically taken once per day, ideally at the same time each day. If a dose is missed by more than a few hours, seek advice from a doctor. Hydration is important during treatment, and patients are advised to empty the bladder often; do not delay urination.

Side Effects & Self-Care

Like all chemotherapy treatments Cytoxan can produce serious side effects; unfortunately most patients will experience some of them. This is because of the way the medication works; chemotherapy both kills cells and interferes with cells' ability to divide and create more cells. While this has obvious benefits with respect to halting the spread of cancer cells, the medication is unable to distinguish between cancer cells and normal, healthy cells. The faster a type of cell divides the more it will be affected by chemotherapy. In the human body, the most rapidly-dividing cells are found in the hair follicles, the mouth, the stomach and bowels, and blood cells. Thus commonly-experienced side effects include:

  • Hair loss
  • Sores/ulcers in the mouth
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Painful urination
  • Blood in urine and/or stools
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Slow healing of wounds
  • Darkening of skin, particularly around nails

Additionally, because Cytoxan does suppress immune system activity, there is a significantly greater risk of infection during treatment.

Not everyone will experience all these side effects, and even if they are experienced they may not be severe. If they are severe---for example, nausea so severe that the patient is unable to eat, vomiting so frequently that food or medications cannot be kept down, or diarrhea so severe that dehydration is a concern---medical attention should be sought right away.

In most cases additional medications can be taken to alleviate side effects; for instance there are treatments that can greatly reduce or eliminate nausea and vomiting. Check with a doctor for recommendations.

To maximize treatment, minimize side effects, and promote rapid recovery there are some simple things patients can do:

  • Wash hands frequently and avoid settings where infectious agents may be encountered.
  • Stay hydrated. Hydration is critical for health and healing.
  • Get plenty of rest. Sleep is also critical to health and healing.
  • Ensure good nutrition. Nutrition guidelines optimizing nutrition for a given condition are often provided by doctors.
  • Avoid sun exposure and temperature extremes. Use sunblock and protective clothing if unavoidable.
  • Avoid unnecessary strenuous activity or activities where injury is likely, such as contact sports.
  • Don't take any medications, including over-the-counter medications, or health/herbal supplements without checking with a doctor first. Even the most innocuous-seeming supplements can complicate treatment.
  • Don't hesitate to contact a doctor with any questions or concerns, no matter how small they may seem.

After treatment stops, normal, healthy cell growth will resume and any side effects experienced will reverse; for example, lost hair will regrow and darkened skin will gradually lighten.

Cytoxan

50mg cyclophosphamide  Buy Cytoxan 100 Tab - $442.69
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Medicines have benefits and some have risks. Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist or you have side effects see your health professional.

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