What Mitoxantrone is and what it is used for?
- Mitoxantrone is classified as an anticancer antibiotic. This medicine blocks the action of an enzyme in cells called topoisomerase II, which is necessary for cell replication and tumor growth. Blocking this enzyme leads to breaks in the DNA, which leads to cancer cell death.
- Mitoxantrone is used to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma and acute myeloid leukemia. This medicine may also be used to treat prostate cancer, as determined by your doctor.
How Mitoxantrone is given?
- It is given as an infusion into a vein over several minutes.
What should I know while receiving Mitoxantrone?
- If mitoxantrone leaks into the skin, it can cause severe tissue damage. Tell your nurse right away if you get pain, tenderness or redness at the place where the injection is given or along the vein.
- Your urine will turn a blue-green color after the drug is given. Some patients may notice their whites of eyes have a blue tint as well. This is because the drug is blue and may last for 1 or 2 days.
- Do not receive this drug when you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Men and women should use effective contraception during treatment and for at least 6 months after the treatment ends.
- Do not receive any kind of vaccination without doctor's approval.
- Mitoxantrone may affect fertility. You can talk to your doctor about methods of preserving fertility before treatment starts.
- There are many drugs may affect how mitoxantrone works. Tell your doctor about all the medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
- You will be checked regularly to make sure you have enough blood cells and have adequate organ functions to receive this medicine. The timing and dosing of your treatment may be changed based on the test results or other side effects.
- The existing health problems may affect the use of mitoxantrone. You should let your doctor know if you have any other medical problems, especially heart diseases, liver or kidney problems.
Common side effects
- Low white blood cell count
You may have a higher risk of getting infections. Try to stay away from crowds and wash hands often. Tell your doctor right away if you have repeated fevers, coughing, stuffy nose, a painful urination or wound that becomes red and swollen.
- Low red blood cell count
You may look pale and get tired more easily. Let your doctor know if you experience any difficulty breathing or dizziness when changing positions.
- Low platelet count
You may have a higher risk of bleeding. Let your doctor know if you find red or purple dots on the skin, bleeding from the nose or gums, or any bruising or bleeding that you cannot explain.
- Nausea and vomiting
Medicines may be given before the treatment to prevent it happening. Eating and drinking often in small amounts may reduce the discomfort.
- Elevated liver enzymes
This is usually mild and unlikely to cause symptoms. Seek medical help right away if you have yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark or brown urine, or pain in abdomen.
- Weakness and fatigue
Try to pace yourself and rest as much as possible. Seek medical advice if fatigue does not go away when you rest and sleep.
- Hair loss
It may begin 2-3 weeks after your first treatment. Hair growth should return after treatment has finished.
- Loss of appetite
Try to eat in small quantities and have frequent meals. If your appetite does not get any better after a few days, tell your doctor.
- Mouth sores
Your doctor may give you medicines that help you feel better. Good mouth care will help prevent mouth sores.
- Swelling of lower legs or hands
Tell your doctor if your hands, arms, legs, or feet feel puffy or tender. The doctor may give medicines to reduce your symptoms and suggest ways to prevent fluid buildup.
Less common side effects
- Nail changes
The color or shape of nails may change and the nails may also become brittle or crack. The nails will return to normal slowly once the treatment is over.
- Diarrhea or constipation
Talk to your doctor and ask for advice. Drinking plenty of water and dietary changes can improve the symptoms.
- Changes in the heart function
Contact a doctor right away if you notice that you have an abnormal heartbeat or have pain or tightness in your chest. It is important to get them checked by a doctor.
Rare but serious side effects
- Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS)
TLS is a life-threatening condition that happens when the large amount of cancer cells die too quickly and their wastes release into the blood stream. Symptoms of TLS include general fatigue, muscle cramps, abnormal heartbeat, decreased urination, throwing up, or confusion. Your doctor will monitor you closely and prescribe medicines to prevent its development.
- Secondary cancer
Mitoxantrone may cause an increased risk of developing secondary cancer years later. Treatment benefits may outweigh the risk of secondary cancer. Your doctor can talk you about this.
- Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water every day can help make your recovery a smoother process.
- Alcohol and cigarettes may interfere with certain medicines or worsen side effects from chemotherapy treatment. It is wise to avoid alcohol and cigarette smoking during cancer treatment. If you have any problem about drinking alcohol and smoking, you should check with your doctor.