How does this medicine work?
Cyclophosphamide (sy-kloh-fos-fuh-mide) destroys cancer cells in all phases of cell life. It is also used to treat inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis (a liver condition), and other medical problems.
How should I give it?
Cyclophosphamide is usually given into the vein (IV). It may be given in the hospital or clinic.
Cyclophosphamide can also be given by mouth as a pill. Give it at a regular time to keep a steady level in the bloodstream. Your child should be awake and alert when taking any medicine.
For children who cannot swallow pills:
- Put on gloves.
- Crush the tablet in a tablet crusher or between 2 spoons inside a clear plastic bag.
- Mix the powder with a very small amount of soft food such as applesauce, yogurt, ice cream, jelly, or chocolate syrup. Make sure your child takes all of the mixture.
- Discard the plastic bag. Wash the dishes right after using. Discard the gloves.
The pharmacy may be able to make an oral solution if needed. Wear gloves when drawing up the dose.
Are there any precautions about food or other medicines?
Cyclophosphamide may be taken with food to prevent stomach upset.
Important: Cyclophosphamide is removed from the body through the kidneys. A high fluid intake will help prevent bladder irritation. Encourage your child to drink twice the normal amount of fluids for 24 hours after cyclophosphamide is given.
Check with the doctor, nurse practitioner, or pharmacist before giving any other prescription or non-prescription medicines, herbs, or vitamins.
What should I do if a dose is missed?
If a dose is missed, give it as soon as you remember that day. Never give a double dose.
If your child throws up within 30 minutes after receiving a dose, give it again. If your child vomits after 30 minutes, do not repeat the dose. Call the oncology clinic or your doctor if more than one dose is missed or vomited.
What are the side effects?
- low blood cell counts
- nausea, vomiting
- metallic taste at time of infusion
- irritation of the vein when given by peripheral IV
- loss of appetite
- hair loss
- irritation of the bladder
- fluid retention
- lung irritation
- congestive heart failure
- secondary cancer
- infertility, depending on age and dose