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What is Oxaliplatin?

Marjorie McAtee
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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Oxaliplatin is a cancer chemotherapy drug used mostly in the treatment of rectal and colon cancers. Because it destroys cancerous cells, the drug also is used to prevent post-operative metastization of these cancers. Oxaliplatin is a clear liquid administered by injection directly into a vein. It has a number of side effects, including fatigue, vomiting, and lowered immunity. It carries a number of risks and should not be used by pregnant women.

This liquid chemotherapy drug is generally administered in a series of treatment cycles over a period of months. Typically, a treatment cycle is administered every two to three weeks. Oxaliplatin is usually injected in one of three potential injection sites: near the collarbone, on the back of the hand, or on the inside of the elbow. Patients may require more or fewer treatments with oxaliplatin, depending on the type and severity of their cancers. A treatment session may last for two to six hours, depending on the patient's reaction to the drug.

Oxaliplatin can cause a wide range of chemotherapy side effects. Common side effects of this cancer treatment drug include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, lowered immunity, excessive bleeding and bruising, fatigue, and anemia. Patients may experience peripheral neuropathy, which can lead to tingling feelings in the extremities, throat, and neck. Cold weather and cold foods or beverages can worsen peripheral neuropathy symptoms in some patients, and others may experience them as a cumulative effect of the drug after receiving it several times. Peripheral neuropathy symptoms generally improve after oxaliplatin treatment is finished.

Rare side effects that may occur with oxaliplatin use include laryngeal spasms, which can lead to trouble breathing and swallowing. Ulcers and sores can appear in the mouth, increasing patients' risk of infection. Some patients may experience an allergic reaction to oxaliplatin. This drug can also cause changes in the ability to taste, which usually resolve themselves after treatment is finished.

Oxaliplatin can interact with drugs, vitamins, and supplements, especially anticoagulants like warfarin. It may not be appropriate for those with kidney disease, and it can increase the risk of dangerous blood clots. Oxaliplatin can cause harm to an unborn fetus, and should not be administered to pregnant women, or to women or men who are trying to become pregnant or father a child. This drug can permanently damage fertility.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Marjorie McAtee
By Marjorie McAtee , Former Writer
Marjorie McAtee, a talented writer and editor with over 15 years of experience, brings her diverse background and education to everything she writes. With degrees in relevant fields, she crafts compelling content that informs, engages, and inspires readers across various platforms. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a skilled member of any content creation team.

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Marjorie McAtee

Marjorie McAtee

Former Writer

Marjorie McAtee, a talented writer and editor with over 15 years of experience, brings her diverse background and education to everything she writes. With degrees in relevant fields, she crafts compelling content that informs, engages, and inspires readers across various platforms. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a skilled member of any content creation team.
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