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Brand Name
Common Name
How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Oxaliplatin belongs to the group of cancer-fighting medications known as antineoplastics, and specifically to the group of antineoplastics known as platinum-containing compounds. Oxaliplatin prevents the growth of cancer cells by interfering with the genetic material DNA, which is necessary for reproduction of cells.

Oxaliplatin is used in combination with other cancer medications to treat metastatic colorectal cancer (i.e., colorectal cancer that has spread). It is also used to treat colon cancer in people who have had surgery to remove the tumour. It is used in combination with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and leucovorin (LV).

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are being given this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

How should I use this medication?

The recommended dose varies according to body size and may be adjusted if side effects occur. Oxaliplatin will be injected by the doctor or by a health care professional under direct supervision of the doctor.

Oxaliplatin is given as an intravenous infusion (injected slowly into the vein over a period of several hours). It is usually injected through a specially prepared site on the skin. The medication is usually given once every 2 weeks as part of a treatment schedule that also includes other cancer medications.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. It is important to follow the treatment schedule prescribed by your doctor. Your doctor may decide on a dosage schedule different from that described here. Very careful handling of this medication is required. It is always administered in a hospital or similar setting with access to sterile equipment for preparation.

You may need to take medication before you are given oxaliplatin to help lessen the nausea this medication may cause. Your doctor will tell you which medication to take and for how long.

This medication should be stored at room temperature, protected from light, and kept out of the reach of children.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Solution for injection

Each clear, glass, single-use vial with a gray stopper and crimping seal with flip-off cap containing 50 mg, 100 mg, or 200 mg of oxaliplatin as a sterile, preservative-free, aqueous solution at a concentration of 5 mg/mL. Nonmedicinal ingredient: Water for Injection, USP.

Lyophilized powder for injection

50 mg vial
Each clear, single-use, glass vial with a gray stopper and crimping seal with flip-off cap containing 50 mg of oxaliplatin as a sterile, preservative-free lyophilized powder for reconstitution. Nonmedicinal ingredient: lactose monohydrate.

100 mg vial
Each clear, single-use, glass vial with a gray stopper and crimping seal with flip-off cap containing 100 mg of oxaliplatin as a sterile, preservative-free lyophilized powder for reconstitution. Nonmedicinal ingredient: lactose monohydrate.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not use oxaliplatin if you:

  • are sensitive or allergic to oxaliplatin or any ingredients of this medication
  • are sensitive or allergic to any platinum-containing compounds (such as cisplatin)
  • are pregnant or breast-feeding
  • have severely reduced kidney function
What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • hair loss
  • loss of appetite
  • mouth sores
  • nausea and vomiting
  • symptoms of nerve changes (such as tingling or numbness in the hands and feet, muscle weakness, or unusual sensations)

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • depression
  • fever or signs of infection (such as redness or swelling at the place of injection, sore throat, or coughing up mucus)
  • persistent cough (cough that doesn't seem to go away)
  • persistent diarrhea (diarrhea that doesn't seem to go away)
  • swelling of feet or legs
  • symptoms of anemia (such as tiredness, weakness, pale skin, or fast or irregular heartbeat)
  • symptoms of liver problems (such as yellow eyes or skin, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, pale stools, itchy skin, or dark urine)
  • tingling or numbness in the hands and feet or muscle weakness that interferes with daily activities (buttoning clothes, swallowing, difficulty walking). These symptoms are temporary but may continue long term
  • vision changes

Seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • symptoms of a serious allergic reaction (such as difficulty breathing, hives, or swelling of the face or throat)
  • symptoms of bleeding (including vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds, dark or bloody stools, or blood in the urine)
  • symptoms of lung problems (such as coughing, shortness of breath, or wheezing)

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Blood clotting: This medication can reduce the number of platelet cells in the blood. Platelets help the blood to clot, and a shortage could make you bleed more easily. Tell your doctor of any signs that your blood is not clotting as quickly. Such symptoms may include black and tarry stools, blood in the urine, easy bruising, or cuts that won't stop bleeding.

Cold temperatures: Exposure to cold temperatures can cause prickling, tingling, or abnormal sensations in the hands, feet, mouth, or throat. It may also cause throat or chest tightness.

To reduce your risk of these problems, avoid cold temperatures and cold objects. For example, avoid cold drinks and do not use ice cubes in your drinks. Do not put ice packs on your body or use an air conditioner at high levels. If exposed to cold air, do not breathe deeply. If you are getting things out of the freezer or fridge, wear gloves.

Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Oxaliplatin may cause dizziness, vision problems, and loss of sense of balance. Do not drive or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.

Infection: As well as killing cancer cells, this medication can reduce the number of cells that fight infection in the body (white blood cells). Avoid contact with people with contagious infections and tell your doctor if you begin to notice signs of an infection, such as fever or chills.

Kidney function: People with reduced kidney function should be monitored by their doctor while they are taking oxaliplatin.

Liver problems: Oxaliplatin may cause serious liver problems. You doctor will monitor and perform tests to monitor the health of your liver.

Lung problems: This medication may cause lung problems that make breathing difficult, including interstitial lung disease. If you experience a cough that doesn't seem to go away, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Medical tests: While you are receiving treatment with oxaliplatin, your doctor will recommend regular blood tests to monitor the health of your liver, kidneys, and blood cells. You will also have regular neurological exams to check the health of your nervous system.

Neuropathy: Neuropathy, or nerve changes, may occur while you are receiving oxaliplatin. If you experience symptoms of nerve changes (such as tingling or numbness in the hands, feet, or throat; muscle weakness; or unusual sensations that affect your daily activities), contact your doctor.

Pregnancy: There is a possibility of birth defects if either the father or mother is using oxaliplatin at the time of conception, or if it is taken by the mother during pregnancy. Effective birth control should be practiced while using this medication. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately. This medication should not be used during pregnancy.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if oxaliplatin passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. This medication should not be used by breast-feeding women.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between oxaliplatin and any of the following:

  • blood thinners (e.g., warfarin)
  • other cancer medications

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

The contents of this site are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition.
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