What is Trisenox®?

Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Doctor taking notes
Doctor taking notes

Trisenox® is a brand name for the generic medication arsenic trioxide. It is prescribed to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). With this type of cancer, the body has excessive amounts of immature blood cells in both the bone marrow and the bloodstream. Trisenox® is typically used for patients who have not responded to other therapies, or for those who have suffered relapses following an improvement in health.

This type of medication is called an anti-neoplastic drug. It interferes with the growth of the body's cells, both normal and cancerous. Trisenox® can cause the eventual death of cancer cells, however it will also affect healthy cells.

Patients will need to go to a clinic or hospital to receive this medication. It can only be injected into a vein by a health care professional, as there is no oral form of the drug. The injection typically takes one to two hours to complete. Patients who experience adverse affects may expect the doctor to inject it over the course of four hours. Trisenox® is usually administered once each day, and the number of injections a patient will receive depends on his response to the treatment, his weight, and his general medical condition.

Before using Trisenox®, patients should discuss the possibility of serious risks with their doctors. It increases the risk of developing serious, but rarely fatal, heart conditions. The doctor will monitor the health of the heart throughout the course of treatment. There is also a possibility of a patient developing APL differentiation syndrome, which may be fatal. Patients require immediate medical help if they experience weight gain, labored breathing, or chest pain, as well as a fever.

The doctor should educate the patient about the signs of hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, which may be caused by Trisenox®. These symptoms can include extreme thirst and hunger, as well as frequent urination, blurred vision and general weakness. Other serious side effects from Trisenox® may include seizures, decreased urination, and hives. Bloody vomit or vomit with the appearance of coffee grounds can be serious. Patients may also notice unusual bruising or bleeding, or stool that appears bloody or tarry. Those who notice any of these symptoms should get medical help as soon as possible.

Less serious side effects from Trisenox® may include fatigue, a rash, and itching. Swelling of the extremities or limbs may occur. Some patients have reported diarrhea, dizziness, and a headache. Before using this drug, patients should discuss their other medications and supplements with their doctors. Additional medical conditions should also be disclosed. This medication should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

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