About This Drug
Thiotepa is used to treat cancer in patients who are getting a blood or bone marrow transplant. This drug is given in the vein (IV).
Possible Side Effects (More Common)
- Bone marrow depression. This is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This may raise your risk of infection, make you tired and weak (fatigue), and raise your risk of bleeding.
- Nausea and throwing up (vomiting)
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) that may last for a few days
- Soreness of the mouth and throat. You may have red areas, white patches, or sores that hurt.
- Hair loss: Hair loss is often complete scalp hair loss and can involve loss of eyebrows, eyelashes, and pubic hair. You may notice this a few days or weeks after treatment has started.
Possible Side Effects (Less Common)
- Changes in your liver function. Your doctor will check your liver function as needed.
- Effects on the heart: This drug can weaken the heart and lower heart function. Your heart function will be checked as needed. You may have trouble catching your breath, mainly during activities. You may also have trouble breathing while lying down, and have swelling in your ankles.
While you are getting this drug in your vein (IV), you may have a reaction to the drug. Your nurse will check you closely for these signs: fever or shaking chills, flushing, facial swelling, feeling dizzy, headache, trouble breathing, rash, itching, chest tightness, or chest pain. Tell your nurse right away if you have any of these while getting the drug in your IV.
Treating Side Effects
- 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).
- Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine that is available to help stop or lessen the loose bowel movements.
- 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.
- If you get a rash do not put anything on it unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep the area around the rash clean and dry. Ask your doctor for medicine if the rash bothers you.
Food and Drug Interactions
There are no known interactions of thiotepa 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 higher
- Easy bleeding or bruising
- Wheezing or trouble breathing
- Rash or itching
- 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 lightheadedness
- Pain when passing urine; blood in urine
- Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking
- Throwing up more than 3 times a day
- Signs of liver problems: dark urine, pale bowel movements, bad stomach pain, feeling very tired and weak, unusual itching, or yellowing of the eyes or skin.
Call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms:
- 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
- Weight gain of 5 pounds in one week (fluid retention)
Sexual Concerns and Reproduction Problems
- Fertility: 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.
- In men, this drug may interfere with your ability to make sperm, but it should not change your ability to have sexual relations.
- 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: Women should not breast feed during treatment because this drug could enter the breast milk and badly harm a breast feeding baby.
Revised November 2014