Cancer patients from all over the world have always succumbed to the side effects of chemotherapy and other radiation treatments to fight cancer cells. Others may experience it while some dont. Even learned experts in the medical field today could not determine whether a chemo will react to your body and produce adverse effects to the treatment or suffer no side effects at all.
Amisfostine is one of the drugs developed today to stem the side-effect of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. It is commonly termed as chemoprotectant, cytoprotective agent, or an antineoplastic adjunct. By definition, these drugs protect the patient from the harmful effects of the treatment.
Neck and head cancer patients who are suffering from dry mouth problem during and after radiation treatments can use amifostine. Women who are taking a chemotherapy drug called cisplatin for ovarian cancer can also take amifostine to reduce harmful effects to their kidneys.
However, there may be cases wherein patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment might be prescribed with this drug in specific intervals to relieve discomfort.
Amifostine is administered intravenously (IV) or vein infusion 15 to 30 minutes before the chemotherapy or radiation treatment is scheduled to begin. Patients are required to take in plenty of fluids before administered with this medicine and blood pressure is constantly monitored while the drug is in effect. The medicine is administered when the patient is lying down and facing up.
There are different factors affecting the dosage of amifostine on a cancer patient. Height and weight is seriously considered; the overall health of the patient, as well as the type of cancer or illness being treated.
Amifostine is said to have no side effects but some do appear in special cases. According to surveys, 30% of the total number of patients taking in amifostine suffers from hypotension or low blood pressure, and potentially severe nausea and vomiting.
Less common side effects after taking in Amifostine includes flushing (redness on face and neck), sleepiness, dizziness, hiccups, sneezing, chills or sudden temperature change from time to time.
Side effects from the use of amifostine are reversible and usually disappear after treatment. Doctors may prescribe the use of other drugs to counteract or minimize these side effects.
A thorough physical examination is needed before the use of amifostine. Patients are advised to inform their doctors of medications or herbal products they are currently taking to avoid adverse effects from taking place. Patients with hypersensitivity or allergic reaction to mannitol or aminothiol compounds must not use this drug. Same is also advised for those taking in blood pressure medications.
Pregnant women or pregnant prior to the treatment are advised not to take amifostine. The use of this drug during category C pregnancy is only possible when the benefits to the mother outweigh the risk to the unborn. Lactating mothers should not breastfeed when under the effects of this medication. Consult your medical expert first before proceeding with the treatment.
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