The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications 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 medications as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.
Medications may help to either prevent or reduce side effects of treatment or to manage certain side effects after 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 if any of these medications are appropriate for you.
Common names include: ProchlorperazineOdansetronGranisetronMetoclopramide
Anti-nauseants, also called anti-emetics, are given to help treat nausea and vomiting that may be caused by
, or surgery to treat cancer. Prochlorperazine can be taken by mouth, injection, or a suppository. Ondansetron and granisetron can be taken orally or as injections. Metoclopramide is usually given by injection.
Some side effects include:
For prochlorperazine: Blurred vision, change in color vision, or difficulty seeing at nightFaintingLoss of balance controlRestlessness or need to keep movingShuffling walkStiffness of arms or legsTrembling and shaking of hands and fingers
For odansetron: ConstipationDiarrheaFeverHeadache
For granisetron: Abdominal painConstipationDiarrheaHeadacheUnusual tiredness or weakness
For metoclopramide: Diarrhea
, especially with high doses
Increased risk of serious neurological condition known as
in patients who take metoclopramide for longer than three months
Common names include: DexamethasonePrednisone
Corticosteroids help to minimize inflammation and to relieve pain due to inflammation. You may experience pain and inflammation for a variety of reasons, such as: Bone pain from cancer that has spread to your bonesSwelling caused by tumors or treatment
Common side effects include: Increased appetiteIndigestionNervousness or restlessness
Common names include: HydrocodoneMorphineOxycodoneFentanylOxymorphoneMethadoneHydrocodone and acetaminophenOxycodone and acetaminophen
Narcotics act on the central nervous system to relieve pain. These drugs can be very effective; however, they must be used with great caution because they can be mentally and/or physically addicting. If you are going to take one of these drugs for a long period of time, your doctor will closely monitor you.
Vicodin and Percocet is a combination medication. A narcotic analgesic and acetaminophen used together may provide better pain relief than either medicine used alone. In some cases, lower doses of each medicine are necessary to achieve pain relief.
The most common side effects of narcotics include: LightheadednessDrowsinessNausea or vomitingConstipation
Common names include: FilgrastimEpoetin
During cancer treatment, blood cells can be destroyed along with cancer cells. Filgrastim helps your bone marrow make new white blood cells. White blood cells 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 effective, but it has a two-week delay between the injection and when your red blood cell count 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: HeadachePain in arms or legsPain in joints or musclesPain in lower back or pelvisSkin rash or itching
For epoetin: Cough, sneezing, or sore throatFeverSwelling of face, fingers, ankles, feet, or lower legsWeight gain