Michelle Badash, MS
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. Ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications only as recommended by your doctor, and according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.
Some medications can be used as part of a treatment plan. Other medications may help to either prevent or reduce side effects of treatments, 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 if any of these medications are appropriate for you.
Blood Stem Cell Support Drugs
Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
Common names include:
Targeted therapy uses medications to seek out cancer cells and destroy them. They can be used alone or with other chemotherapy drugs. Because they target cancer cells specifically, the side effects are not as severe as with chemotherapy drugs.
Possible side effects include:
Antiemetics are given to help treat nausea and vomiting that may be caused by chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery to treat cancer. Prochlorperazine can be taken by mouth, injection, or a suppository. Ondansetron and granisetron can be taken by mouth or as injections. Metoclopramide is usually given by injection. Dronabinol is a synthetic cannabinoid taken by mouth.
Corticosteroids help reduce inflammation and relieve pain due to inflammation.
Opioids act on the central nervous system to relieve pain. These drugs can be very effective however, opioids 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.
The most common side effects of opioids include:
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 make new red blood cells.
Both filgrastim and epoetin are given by injection in your doctor's office.
NSAIDs are used to relieve pain and inflammation.
If you are taking medications, follow these general guidelines:
Colon cancer treatment option overview. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/types/colorectal/patient/colon-treatment-pdq#section/_135. Updated July 22, 2015. Accessed December 2, 2015.
Colorectal cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003096-pdf.pdf. Accessed December 2, 2015.
Colorectal cancer. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113642/Colorectal-cancer. Updated August 18, 2016. Accessed October 6, 2016.
Colorectal cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/tumors-of-the-gi-tract/colorectal-cancer. Updated July 2014. Accessed December 2, 2015.
Rectal cancer treatment option overview.
National Cancer Institute
website. Available at:
http://www.cancer.gov/types/colorectal/patient/rectal-treatment-pdq#section/_135. Updated June 30, 2015.
Accessed December 2, 2015.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Mohei Abouzied, MD
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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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