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    Cyclophosphamide

    Cyclophosphamide

    Examples

    Generic Name Brand Name
    cyclophosphamide Cytoxan

    How It Works

    Cyclophosphamide is an alkylating agent and is related to mustard gas. It causes cell death by interfering with the way genetic material (DNA) in the cell multiplies.

    Cyclophosphamide is available as an intravenous (IV) medicine and as tablets for oral use in 25 mg and 50 mg. The type and extent of a disease and your body size determine the exact dose and schedule of administering this medicine.

    Why It Is Used

    Cyclophosphamide is used to treat many forms of cancer, including:

    • Breast cancer.
    • Leukemia.
    • Lung cancer.
    • Multiple myeloma.
    • Neuroblastoma.
    • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
    • Ovarian cancer.
    • Sarcoma.

    Cyclophosphamide is also used to treat other diseases, such as:

    • Arthritis.
    • Lupus.
    • Myasthenia gravis.
    • Nephrotic syndrome.
    • Wegener's granulomatosis.

    Cyclophosphamide is often used before a bone marrow transplant or after another type of transplant, such as a kidney or liver transplant.

    How Well It Works

    Cyclophosphamide treats many forms of cancer. It is usually combined with other chemotherapy medicines but may be used alone.

    Side Effects

    Side effects with cyclophosphamide may include:

    • Decreased white blood cell and platelet counts.
    • Nausea and vomiting.
    • Hair loss.
    • Menstrual changes, early menopause, and decreased sperm count.
    • Blood in the urine because of irritation of the bladder. Be sure to drink at least 8 full glasses of fluid a day if you are being treated with cyclophosphamide.

    See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

    What To Think About

    Cyclophosphamide should be given only under the supervision of a medical oncologist .

    Cyclophosphamide can affect your ability to have children. You may not be able to become pregnant or father a child after taking cyclophosphamide. Discuss fertility with your doctor before starting treatment with this drug.

    Cyclophosphamide can cause birth defects. Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant or wish to become pregnant or father a child while you are taking it.

    Women who take this medicine may experience menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and vaginal dryness.

    Complete the new medication information form (PDF) (What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

    Credits

    By Healthwise Staff
    Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
    Douglas A. Stewart, MD - Medical Oncology
    Last Revised June 28, 2013

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