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Medications for Testicular Cancer

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by Polsdorfer R
 
The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medicines listed below. Only the most general side effects are included, so ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions.
Use each of these medicines as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.
Medicines may help to either prevent or reduce side effects of treatment, or to manage certain side effects once they occur. You can develop side effects from the treatment and/or from the cancer itself. Tell your doctor when you notice a new symptom, and ask him or her if any of these medicines are appropriate for you.

Prescription Medications

Antinauseants
  • Prochlorperazine (Compazine)
  • Odansetron (Zofran)
  • Granisetron (Kytril)
  • Metoclopramide (eg, Octamide, Metoclopramide Intensol, Reglan)
Corticosteroids
  • Dexamethasone (eg, Cortastat, Dalalone, Decadrol)
  • Prednisone (eg, Cordrol, Deltasone, Liquid Pred)
Painkillers—Narcotics
  • Hydrocodone (eg, Dilaudid, Hydrostat)
  • Methadone (eg, Astramorph PF, Duramorph, Kadian)
  • Oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet)
Blood Stem Cell Support Drugs
  • Filgrastim (Neupogen)
  • Epoetin (Epogen, Procrit)

Over-the-Counter Medications

Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Ibuprofen (eg, Advil)
  • Naproxen (eg, Aleve)

Prescription Medications

 

Blood Stem Cell Support Drugs

Common names include:
  • Filgrastim (Neupogen)
  • Epoetin (Epogen, Procrit)
During cancer treatment, blood cells can be destroyed along with cancer cells. Filgrastim helps your bone marrow make new white blood cells, which help your body fight infection. Therefore, filgrastim helps to reduce your risk of infection.
Epoetin helps your bone marrow to make new red blood cells. Low red blood cell levels can lead to anemia ; therefore, epoetin helps reduce your risk of anemia. Epoetin is quite effective, but it has a two-week delay between the injection and when your red blood cell count really starts to come back. It is not used as a “quick fix” for a low red blood cell count; a blood transfusion is usually performed if you need to recover your red blood cell count more quickly. Both filgrastim and epoetin are given by injection in your doctor's office.
Common side effects include:
For filgrastim:
  • Headache
  • Pain in arms or legs
  • Pain in joints or muscles
  • Pain in lower back or pelvis
  • Skin rash or itching
For epoetin:
  • Cough, sneezing, or sore throat
  • Fever
  • Swelling of face, fingers, ankles, feet, or lower legs
  • Weight gain

Special Considerations

If you are taking medicines, follow these general guidelines:
  • Take your medicine as directed. Do not change the amount or the schedule.
  • Do not stop taking them without talking to your doctor.
  • Do not share them.
  • Know what the results and side effects. Report them to your doctor.
  • Some drugs can be dangerous when mixed. Talk to a doctor or pharmacist if you are taking more than one drug. This includes over-the-counter medicine and herb or dietary supplements.
  • Plan ahead for refills so you don’t run out.
 

References


Casciato DA. Manual of Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2004.


Cashen AF, Wildes TM. The Washington Manual of Hematology and Oncology Subspeciality Consult. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Wolter Kluwers Health; 2008.


FDA's MedWatch safety alerts: March 2009. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm142815.htm . Published March 23, 2009. Accessed August 4, 2009.


National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov . Accessed January 31, 2006.


United States Pharmacopeial Convention. USP DI. 21st ed. Englewood, CO: Micromedex; 2001.

 

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