Common Name: cyclophosphamide
How does Cytoxan work?Cyclophosphamide belongs to the group of cancer-fighting medicines known as antineoplastics, and specifically to the group of antineoplastics known as alkylating agents. Another alkylating agent is ifosfamide. Cyclophosphamide prevents the growth of cancer cells by interfering with the genetic material DNA, which is necessary for reproduction of cells. Because cancer cells reproduce more quickly than normal cells, they are targeted by the drug. Cyclophosphamide is used to treat many types of cancer including cancers of the blood (e.g., leukemia, lymphoma), Hodgkin's disease, small cell lung cancer, multiple myeloma, neuroblastoma, retinoblastoma, and cancers of the soft tissues (including muscles). Your doctor may choose to use this medication for other conditions not listed here. If you're unsure why you are taking this medication, please ask your doctor.
How should I use Cytoxan?The recommended dose of cylophosphamide varies widely according to the specific disease being treated, the response to therapy and other drugs being used. The dose is based on body weight. It is available as an intravenous (into the vein) injection and as an oral tablet. The injectable form is injected into through a specially prepared site on the skin. The dosing regimen for this medication varies widely. Tablets are sometimes taken on a daily basis in smaller doses, but can also be given in larger doses for a few days at a time with two- to four-week intervals between doses. The intravenous form of the medication is sometimes administered twice a week, but larger doses may be given every three to four weeks depending on the condition being treated. The intravenous form of cyclophosphamide is always given under the supervision of a doctor. Very careful handling of this medication is required. It is always given in a hospital or similar setting with access to sterile equipment for preparation. Cyclophosphamide is excreted in urine. Your bladder will become irritated if the urine containing cyclophosphamide stays inside it for too long. It is therefore important that you drink extra fluids while taking cyclophosphamide so that extra urine is passed. The bladder should be emptied frequently so that the kidneys continue to work well. You may need to drink up to 7 to 12 cups of fluid a day. Cyclophosphamide tablets must be taken exactly as directed by your doctor. They are usually taken first thing in the morning to reduce the risk of bladder problems. Talk with your doctor about the best dosing schedule for your circumstances. Stomach upset can be decreased by taking the medication with food. This medication may cause nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite, but it is important that you continue to use the medicine. Do not stop taking the medicine without talking with your doctor. If you vomit shortly after taking a dose of medicine, call your doctor for instructions on whether to skip that dose or to take another dose. As well as interfering with the genetic material DNA of cancer cells, cyclophosphamide can interfere with some of your normal cells. This can cause a number of side effects such as hair loss and mouth sores. Keep track of any side effects and report them to your doctor as suggested in the section "What side effects are possible with this medication?" Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications.
What form(s) does Cytoxan come in?Cytoxan® tablets are white with blue specks and are available as 25 mg or 50 mg cyclophosphamide per tablet. Nonmedicinal ingredients include acacia, cornstarch, D&C yellow No. 10 , FD&C blue No. 1, lactose, magnesium stearate, stearic acid, and talc. This product does not contain gluten or yeast. Cytoxan® injectable is available in lyophilized vials containing cyclophosphamide 1000 mg or 2000 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredient is mannitol.
What should I NOT take with Cytoxan?Cyclophosphamide should not be used by: anyone sensitive or allergic to cyclophosphamide or to any of the ingredients breast-feeding mothers people with severe low white blood cell counts people with low platelet counts people with liver or kidney dysfunction
Are there any other precautions or warnings for Cytoxan?Pregnancy: Cyclophosphamide has caused fetal damage in experimental animals. It should not be used in pregnancy unless the benefits clearly outweigh the risks. Breast-feeding: Cyclophosphamide is excreted in breast milk. Women should not breast-feed while receiving cyclophosphamide treatment.