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Carboplatin

Generic name: carboplatin
Brand name: Paraplatin
Dosage form: intravenous (infusion) injection
Drug class: Alkylating agents

Medically reviewed by N. France, BPharm. Last updated on Apr 7, 2022.

What is carboplatin?

Carboplatin is a cytotoxic chemotherapy drug used to treat cancer. Carboplatin works by binding to DNA and causing damage that prevents cells from reproducing. Cancer cells rapidly grow and divide out of control and carboplatin helps to stop this from happening. Carboplatin doesn't just target cancer cells though, it also affects normal cells that are growing and dividing.

Carboplatin is a platinum complex and alkylating agent that is similar to another cancer drug called cisplatin. Carboplatin was developed in the early 1980s to overcome some of the toxic side effects associated with cisplatin. It is less toxic to your kidneys, hearing and nerves than cisplatin.

What is carboplatin used for?

Carboplatin is a medicine that is used to treat cancer of the ovaries. It is used for the initial treatment of advanced ovarian carcinomas and also as a palliative treatment, when ovarian cancer has returned following prior chemotherapy.

Who should not receive Carboplatin?

Treatment with carboplatin is not recommended if you:

  • are allergic to carboplatin or other platinum-containing products;
  • have a weakened blood-forming system (bone marrow depression) or significant bleeding;
  • are pregnant, intend to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding a baby.

What should I tell my doctor before receiving carboplatin?

Discuss the benefits and risks of carboplatin with your doctor before beginning treatment.

Be sure to inform your doctor:

  • If you are allergic to carboplatin or other platinum-containing products;
  • If you are or intend to become pregnant, since carboplatin may harm the developing fetus. It is important to use effective birth control while you are being treated with carboplatin.
  • If you are breastfeeding, since nursing infants may be exposed to carboplatin in this way;
  • If you are taking other medicines, including all prescription and non-prescription (over-the-counter) drugs, since carboplatin may affect the action of other medicines;
  • If you have any other medical problems, especially chicken pox (including recent exposure to adults or children with chicken pox), shingles, hearing problems, infection, or kidney disease, since treatment with carboplatin increases the risk and severity of these conditions.

How should I receive carboplatin?

Only a professional experienced in the use of cancer drugs should give you this medication.

  • Carboplatin is given by dripping the medicine slowly and directly into a vein (intravenous infusion) for 15 minutes or longer.
  • Your doctor will determine the dose of carboplatin for you based on your weight, height, and kidney function.
  • Carboplatin may be given alone or with other drugs.
  • Treatment is usually repeated every four weeks for a number of cycles.
  • Before and after carboplatin treatment, your doctor may give you medication to lessen the nausea and vomiting associated with this cancer treatment

What should I avoid while receiving carboplatin?

You should avoid contact with adults and children who have infections, and tell your doctor right away if you show signs of infection such as cough, fever, and/or chills. Also, while you are being treated with carboplatin or after you stop treatment, first check with your doctor before getting any immunizations (vaccinations). Avoid contact with adults or children who have received oral polio vaccine since they can pass the polio virus to you.

Dosing information

  • Monotherapy in patients with recurrent ovarian cancer: carboplatin 360mg/m2 IV on day 1 every 4 weeks.
  • Combination therapy with cyclophosphamide: carboplatin 300mg/m2 IV on day 1 every 4 weeks for 6 cycles, plus cyclophosphamide 600mg/m2 IV on day 1 every 4 weeks for 6 cycles.
  • Intermittent courses of carboplatin should not be repeated until the neutrophil count is at least 2,000 and the platelet count is at least 100,000.
  • Refer to full dosing information for further details.

What are the possible side effects of carboplatin?

Carboplatin may cause unwanted effects, particularly because carboplatin interferes with the growth of normal cells as well as cancer cells. For example, the occurrence of another cancer (secondary malignancy) has been reported in patients receiving cancer chemotherapy with multiple drugs. It is not always possible to tell whether such effects are caused by carboplatin, another drug you may be taking, or your illness. Because some of these effects may be serious, you will need close medical supervision during treatment with carboplatin.

The most serious side effects of carboplatin are:

  • bleeding and reduced blood cells, including reduced red blood cells (anemia) and platelets (needed for proper blood clotting), which may be severe enough to require blood transfusion. You should tell your doctor right away if you notice any unusual bruising or bleeding, including black tarry stools or blood in the urine.
  • infection – carboplatin can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells in your blood, increasing the risk of infection;
  • life-threatening allergic reaction – during and after treatment the doctor or nurse will observe you carefully for signs of allergic reaction;
  • kidney and liver problems;
  • loss of hearing or ringing in the ears;

Contact your doctor right away if you experience any of these effects, or notice effects that worry you or are troublesome.

Of the less serious side effects associated with carboplatin treatment, the most common are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, hair loss and numbness, tingling, burning, or pain in the hands and feet.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

If you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding, let your doctor know right away. Carboplatin may harm your developing fetus or breastfeeding baby. If you are a woman of childbearing age, you should use birth control to avoid getting pregnant while you are taking carboplatin.

Storage

Unopened vials of carboplatin Injection are stable to the date indicated on the package when stored at 25°C (77°F); excursions permitted from 15°–30°C (59°–86°F) [see USP Controlled Room Temperature]. Protect from light.

Carboplatin Injection multiple-dose vials maintain microbial, chemical, and physical stability for up to 14 days at 25°C following multiple needle entries.

Parenteral drug products should be inspected visually for particulate matter and discoloration prior to administration. Solutions for infusion should be discarded 8 hours after preparation.

What are the ingredients in carboplatin?

Active ingredients: carboplatin

Inactive ingredients: water

A number of generic formulations of carboplatin are made by different manufactures. Inactive ingredients may vary between manufactures.

A generic version of carboplatin is made by Accord BioPharma under the brandname Paraplatin. Paraplatin was also the brandname used for the first version of carboplatin approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, that version has since been discontinued.

Popular FAQ

Taxol (paclitaxel, Paxel) must be given before carboplatin because if carboplatin is given before Taxol, it stops Taxol from having an effect on cancer cells. This is called a scheduling interaction because when Taxol is given before carboplatin, there is little interaction and both agents work as intended. Continue reading

Carboplatin is a chemotherapy drug that stops cancer growth by halting or slowing the growth of cancer cells. It does this by binding to the cell DNA and preventing it’s replication. Continue reading

Peripheral neuropathy is uncommon when conventional doses of carboplatin are used, but patients over 65 years of age may be at higher risk. Carboplatin may be associated with peripheral neuropathy in about 4% to 15% of patients. If carboplatin is combined with other neurotoxic cancer treatments, or used at higher doses or for prolonged periods, the risk of more severe neuropathy may increase. Continue reading

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.