Generic Name: Arsenic Trioxide (AR se nik tri OKS id)
Brand Name: Trisenox
Medically reviewed on September 5, 2018
- This medicine may cause a very bad and sometimes deadly type of heartbeat that is not normal (long QT on ECG, torsades de pointes). The chance may be raised if you take amphotericin B or some types of water pills (diuretics), if you have low potassium or magnesium levels, or if you have heart failure. If you have ever had a long QT on ECG or other abnormal heartbeat, talk with your doctor. This medicine may not be right for you. If you have questions, talk with your doctor.
- Talk with your doctor if you are taking any drugs that can cause a certain type of heartbeat that is not normal (prolonged QT interval). There are many drugs that can do this. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
- You will need an ECG before starting arsenic trioxide and during treatment. Talk with your doctor.
- You will need your blood work checked before starting arsenic trioxide and during treatment. Talk with your doctor.
- This medicine may cause a very bad and sometimes deadly health problem called differentiation syndrome (retinoic-acid-APL syndrome). Most of the time, this problem happens during the first month of taking arsenic trioxide and sometimes after the first dose. Call the doctor right away if your child has a fever, shortness of breath or trouble breathing; swelling; weight gain; very bad dizziness or passing out; signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes; or signs of kidney problems like not able to pass urine, change in how much urine is passed, or blood in the urine.
Uses of Arsenic Trioxide:
- It is used to treat a type of leukemia.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Arsenic Trioxide?
- If you have an allergy to arsenic trioxide or any other part of arsenic trioxide.
- If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
- If you are taking any drugs that can cause electrolyte problems. There are many drugs that can do this. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
- If you are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take arsenic trioxide and for 2 weeks after your last dose.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with arsenic trioxide.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take arsenic trioxide with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Arsenic Trioxide?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take arsenic trioxide. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- You may have more chance of getting an infection. Wash hands often. Stay away from people with infections, colds, or flu.
- You may bleed more easily. Be careful and avoid injury. Use a soft toothbrush and an electric razor.
- This medicine may add to the chance of getting some types of cancer. Talk with the doctor.
- If you have upset stomach, throwing up, loose stools (diarrhea), or are not hungry, talk with your doctor. There may be ways to lower these side effects.
- If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), talk with your doctor. This medicine may raise blood sugar.
- Check your blood sugar as you have been told by your doctor.
- Tell your doctor if you have signs of high blood sugar like confusion, feeling sleepy, more thirst, more hungry, passing urine more often, flushing, fast breathing, or breath that smells like fruit.
- If you are 65 or older, use arsenic trioxide with care. You could have more side effects.
- This medicine may affect sperm in men. This may affect being able to father a child. Talk with the doctor.
- If you are a man and have sex with a female who could get pregnant, protect her from pregnancy during care and for 3 months after care ends. Use birth control that you can trust.
- If you are a man and your sex partner gets pregnant while you take arsenic trioxide or within 3 months after your last dose, call your doctor right away.
- This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant.
- If you are able to get pregnant, a pregnancy test will be done to show that you are NOT pregnant before starting arsenic trioxide. Talk with your doctor.
- Use birth control that you can trust to prevent pregnancy while taking arsenic trioxide and for 6 months after stopping arsenic trioxide.
- If you get pregnant while taking arsenic trioxide or within 6 months after your last dose, call your doctor right away.
How is this medicine (Arsenic Trioxide) best taken?
Use arsenic trioxide as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- It is given as an infusion into a vein over a period of time.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Call your doctor to find out what to do.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of bleeding like throwing up blood or throw up that looks like coffee grounds; coughing up blood; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; vaginal bleeding that is not normal; bruises without a reason or that get bigger; or any bleeding that is very bad or that you cannot stop.
- Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
- Signs of electrolyte problems like mood changes, confusion, muscle pain or weakness, a heartbeat that does not feel normal, seizures, not hungry, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
- Signs of high or low blood pressure like very bad headache or dizziness, passing out, change in eyesight.
- Chest pain or pressure or a fast heartbeat.
- A heartbeat that does not feel normal.
- Feeling very tired or weak.
- Low mood (depression).
- A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
- Blurred eyesight.
- Shortness of breath.
- Fast breathing.
- Feeling confused.
- Feeling agitated.
- Ringing in ears.
What are some other side effects of Arsenic Trioxide?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Belly pain.
- Hard stools (constipation).
- Loose stools (diarrhea).
- Not hungry.
- Weight gain or loss.
- Feeling tired or weak.
- Dry mouth.
- Not able to sleep.
- Feeling sleepy.
- Bone, joint, or muscle pain.
- Back pain.
- Sweating a lot.
- Pain where the shot was given.
- Redness or swelling where the shot is given.
- Eye irritation.
- Dry eyes.
- Pain in arms or legs.
- Dry skin.
- Neck pain.
- Pale skin.
- Skin irritation.
- Ear pain.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Arsenic Trioxide?
- If you need to store arsenic trioxide at home, talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about how to store it.
Consumer information use
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
- Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about arsenic trioxide, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
More about arsenic trioxide
- Arsenic trioxide Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- En Español
- 1 Review
- Drug class: miscellaneous antineoplastics
Other brands: Trisenox