Amifostine

Generic Name: amifostine (A-mi-FOS-teen)
Brand Name: Ethyol

Amifostine is used for:

Reducing kidney damage due to cisplatin chemotherapy in patients with ovarian cancer. It is also used to reduce moderate to severe dry mouth associated with radiation treatment after surgery for head and neck cancer. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Amifostine is a cytoprotective agent. It works by removing certain substances that cause damage to the kidneys. It also reduces some harmful effects of radiation on healthy tissues.

Do NOT use amifostine if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in amifostine or to similar medicines
  • you have low blood pressure or you are dehydrated

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: Flashback: FDA Drug Approvals 2013

Before using amifostine:

Some medical conditions may interact with amifostine. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of blood vessel problems, heart problems (eg, congestive heart failure, irregular heartbeat), stroke or transient ischemic attacks ("mini-strokes"), low blood calcium levels, or kidney problems (eg, nephrotic syndrome)
  • if you are taking medicine to treat high blood pressure or you are receiving chemotherapy for other types of cancer

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with amifostine. However, no specific interactions with amifostine are known at this time.

Ask your health care provider if amifostine may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use amifostine:

Use amifostine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Amifostine is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you will be using amifostine at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use amifostine. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • Patients who take blood pressure medicines may need to avoid taking them within 24 hours before or after using amifostine. If you take medicine for high blood pressure, ask your doctor how to take it along with amifostine.
  • Do not use amifostine if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of amifostine, contact your doctor right away.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use amifostine.

Important safety information:

  • Amifostine may cause dizziness or drowsiness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use amifostine with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Amifostine may cause low blood pressure. If you experience dizziness, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, seizures, fainting, or decreased urination, contact your doctor immediately. Patients who take blood pressure medicines may need to avoid taking them within 24 hours before or after using amifostine. If you take medicine for high blood pressure, ask your doctor how to take it along with amifostine.
  • Severe and sometimes fatal skin reactions have occurred with amifostine. This reaction may develop even weeks after you start treatment. The risk may be greater in patients who use amifostine to reduce dry mouth caused by radiation treatment. If you experience severe rash (eg, redness, scaling, swelling, peeling, or blistering of the skin), fever, mouth sores, or red and irritated eyes, contact your doctor right away.
  • If you experience nausea or vomiting, talk to your doctor about how to avoid becoming dehydrated. Your doctor may prescribe medicine to help decrease nausea and vomiting that may occur while you are using amifostine.
  • Lab tests, including kidney function, blood calcium and electrolyte levels, and blood pressure, may be performed to monitor your progress or to check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use amifostine with extreme caution in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: It is not known if amifostine can cause harm to the fetus. If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using amifostine while you are pregnant. It is not known if amifostine is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking amifostine.

Possible side effects of amifostine:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Drowsiness; feeling of coldness; flushing/feeling of warmth; hiccups; nausea; sneezing; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chest pain; chills or shaking; decreased urination; dizziness; fainting; fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; fever; muscle twitching/cramping; numbness of an arm or leg; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; seizures; severe or persistent nausea or vomiting; severe stomach pain; shortness of breath; sores on the lips, mouth, or tongue; sudden, severe headache; unusual fatigue or tiredness; vision changes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include seizures; severe or persistent dizziness; shortness of breath.

Proper storage of amifostine:

Amifostine is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using amifostine at home, store amifostine as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about amifostine, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Amifostine is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take amifostine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about amifostine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to amifostine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using amifostine.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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