About This Drug
Oxaliplatin is used to treat cancer. It is given in the vein (IV).
Possible Side Effects (More Common)
- Effects on the nerves are called peripheral neuropathy. You may feel numbness, tingling, or pain in your hands and feet. Cold temperatures can make it worse. Avoid cold drinks with ice. Dress warmly and cover the skin if you go out in the cold. Wear socks or gloves if you have to touch cold objects like cold flooring or items in the refrigerator or freezer.
- It may be hard for you to button your clothes, open jars, or walk as usual. The effect on the nerves may get worse with more doses of the drug. These effects get better in some people after the drug is stopped but it does not get better in all people
- Bone marrow depression: This is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. It may increase your risk for infection, make you tired and weak (fatigue), and raise your risk of bleeding.
- Nausea and throwing up (vomiting). These symptoms may happen within a few hours after your treatment and may last up to 72 hours. Medicines are available to stop or lessen these side effects.
- Electrolyte changes.& Your blood will be checked for electrolyte changes as needed.
Possible Side Effects (Less Common)
- Skin and tissue irritation: This may involve redness, pain, warmth, or swelling at the IV site. This happens if the drug leaks out of the vein and into nearby tissue.
- Serious allergic reactions including anaphylaxis are rare. While you are getting this drug in your vein (IV), tell your nurse right away if you have any of these symptoms of an allergic reaction:
- Trouble catching your breath.
- Feeling like your tongue or throat are swelling.
- Feeling your heart beat quickly or in a not normal way (palpitations).
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
- Flushing, itching, rash, or hives.
- Changes in your liver function.& Your doctor will check your liver function as needed.
Treating Side Effects
- Do not drink cold drinks or use ice cubes in drinks. Drink fluids at room temperature or warmer. Drink through a straw.
- Wear gloves to touch cold objects. Be aware that most metals are cold to the touch, especially in winter. Examples are your car door handle and your mail box latch.
- Wear warm clothing in cold weather at all times. Cover your mouth and nose with a scarf or a pull-down cap (ski cap) to warm the air that goes to your lungs.
- Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine to treat nausea, throwing up, headache, or loose bowel movements.
- While you are getting this drug in your vein, tell your nurse right away if you have any pain, redness, or swelling at the site of the IV infusion.
- Mouth care is very important. Your mouth care should consist of routine, gentle cleaning of your teeth or dentures and rinsing your mouth with a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water or ½ teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of water. This should be done at least after each meal and at bedtime.
- Drink 6-8 cups of fluids each day unless your doctor has told you to limit your fluid intake due to some other health problem. A cup is 8 ounces of fluid. If you throw up or have loose bowel movements you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated (lack water in the body due to losing too much fluid).
Food and Drug Interactions
There are no known interactions of oxaliplatin with food. This drug may interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs and others) that you are taking at this time. The safety and use of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often not known. Using these might affect your cancer or interfere with your treatment. Until more is known, you should not use dietary supplements or alternative diets without your cancer doctor's help.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your doctor or nurse right away if you have any of these symptoms:
- Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or above
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Wheezing or trouble breathing
- Rash or itching
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Feeling that your heart is beating in a fast or not normal way (palpitations)
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) more than 4 times a day or diarrhea with weakness or feeling lightheaded
- Blurred vision or other changes in eyesight
- Pain when passing urine; blood in urine
- Pain in your lower back or side
- Feeling confused or agitated
- Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking
- Throwing up more than 3 times a day
- Chest pain or symptoms of a heart attack. Most heart attacks involve pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes. The pain may go away and come back. It can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. Sometimes pain is felt in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach. If any of these symptoms last 2 minutes, call 911.
- Symptoms of a stroke such as sudden numbness or weakness of your face, arm, or leg, mostly on one side of your body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, feeling dizzy, loss of balance or coordination; or sudden, bad headache with no known cause.& If you have any of these symptoms for 2 minutes, call 911.
- Signs of liver problems: dark urine, pale bowel movements, bad stomach pain, feeling very tired and weak, itching, or yellowing of the eyes or skin.
Call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if any of these symptoms happen:
- Change in hearing, ringing in the ears
- Decreased urine
- Unusual thirst or passing urine often
- Pain in your mouth or throat that makes it hard to eat or drink
- Nausea that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
- Rash that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
- Heavy menstrual period that lasts longer than normal
- Numbness, tingling, decreased feeling or weakness in fingers, toes, arms, or legs
- Trouble walking or changes in the way you walk, feeling clumsy when buttoning clothes, opening jars, or other routine hand motions
- Swelling of legs, ankles, or feet
- Weight gain of 5 pounds in one week (fluid retention)
- Lasting loss of appetite or rapid weight loss of five pounds in a week
- Fatigue that interferes with your daily activities
- Headache that does not go away
- Painful, red, or swollen areas on your hands or feet.
- No bowel movement for 3 days or you feel uncomfortable
- Extreme weakness that interferes with normal activities
Infertility Warning: Sexual problems and reproduction concerns may happen. In both men and women, this drug may affect your ability to have children. This cannot be determined before your treatment. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children.& Ask for information on sperm or egg banking.
In men, this drug may interfere with your ability to make sperm, but it should not change your ability to have sexual relations.
In women, menstrual bleeding may become irregular or stop while you are getting this drug. Do not assume that you cannot become pregnant if you do not have a menstrual period.
Women may go through signs of menopause (change of life) like vaginal dryness or itching. Vaginal lubricants can be used to lessen vaginal dryness, itching, and pain during sexual relations.
Genetic counseling is available for you to talk about the effects of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. Also, a genetic counselor can look at the possible risk of problems in the unborn baby due to this medicine if an exposure happens during pregnancy.
Pregnancy warning: This drug may have harmful effects on the unborn child, so effective methods of birth control should be used during your cancer treatment.
Breast feeding warning: It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk.& For this reason, women should talk to their doctor about the risks and benefits of breast feeding during treatment with this drug because this drug may enter the breast milk and badly harm a breast feeding baby.
Revised July 2014