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Precautions and Warnings With Oxaliplatin

If your healthcare provider recommends chemotherapy treatment with oxaliplatin, he or she needs to be aware of any possible problems you might have with your kidneys, liver, or lungs. It is also important to discuss any allergies you might have. Safety precautions for oxaliplatin also include warnings for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as this drug may be unsafe in these situations.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Receiving Oxaliplatin?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to receiving oxaliplatin (Eloxatin®) if you have:
  • Kidney disease, such as kidney failure (renal failure)
  • Liver disease, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or liver failure
  • Nerve problems
  • Lung disease, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Had a previous allergic reaction to a platinum medication
  • Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Breastfeeding
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant.
You should also tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Oxaliplatin Precautions and Warnings

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to receiving this medication include the following:
  • Like other platinum medications, oxaliplatin can cause life-threatening allergic reactions. These reactions can occur within minutes of starting your infusion, and may happen even if you received this drug before without any problems. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you have symptoms of an allergic reaction, which may include:
    • Rash
    • Hives
    • Skin redness
    • Facial flushing
    • Itching
    • Diarrhea
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
    • Sweating
    • Chest pain
    • Confusion
    • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy, or fainting.
  • This medication can cause nerve problems (see Nerve Problems With Eloxatin). These problems can occur as early as your first dose, or up to two days after you start the medication. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you experience any signs of nerve problems, such as:
    • Extreme sensitivity to cold temperatures and objects
    • Problems breathing or swallowing
    • Difficulty talking, jaw tightness, or unusual feelings in your tongue
    • Chest pressure
    • Numbness, tingling, pain, or burning sensations in the hands, feet, throat, or around your mouth
    • Difficulty walking or doing other activities.
  • Oxaliplatin-related nerve problems may be worsened by cold temperatures or objects. Therefore, you should avoid exposure to the cold during treatment. For example, do not drink cold beverages, use ice, or touch cold objects. Also, cover your skin before going outside in cold weather.
  • Oxaliplatin can cause a rare but serious brain condition known as reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you have signs of this condition, which can include:
    • Headache
    • Confusion
    • Seizures
    • Vision problems, including blurred or loss of vision.
  • There have been reports of serious lung disease occurring in people receiving oxaliplatin. Let your healthcare provider know if you have any signs of lung disease, such as:
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Shortness of breath
    • Dry cough.
  • Oxaliplatin increases certain liver enzymes, and may cause liver problems. Your healthcare provider will order blood tests to monitor your liver function during treatment.
  • You may develop low blood cell counts during treatment. This could cause anemia and increase your risk for infection (see Chemotherapy and Infections). You may also be at a higher risk for bleeding (see Blood Clotting Problems and Chemotherapy). Your healthcare provider will check your blood counts regularly during treatment, using simple blood tests.
  • This medicine may cause side effects, such as dizziness, blurriness or loss of vision, and problems with balance and coordination, which can impair your ability to drive or operate heavy machinery. You should avoid these activities if you cannot do them safely.
  • It is unknown if oxaliplatin passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to receiving the drug (see Eloxatin and Breastfeeding).
  • Oxaliplatin is a pregnancy Category D medication, which means it may harm an unborn child if used during pregnancy (see Eloxatin and Pregnancy).
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Oxaliplatin Medication Information

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