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:
Medications for nausea, also called anti-emetics, are given to help treat nausea and vomiting that may be caused by chemotherapy, radiation, 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. 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.
Whenever you are taking a prescription medication, take the following precautions:
Colon cancer treatment. National Cancer Institute
website. Available at:
http://cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/colon/Patient. Accessed May 14, 2013.
Colorectal cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at:
http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003096-pdf.pdf. Updated January 17, 2013. Accessed May 14, 2013.
Colorectal cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what. Updated May 3, 2013. Accessed May 14, 2013.
Rectal cancer treatment. National Cancer Institute website. Available at:
http://cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/rectal/Patient. Accessed May 14, 2013.
Last reviewed May 2014 by Mohei Abouzied, MD
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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