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Peripheral Intravenous Chemotherapy


  • Peripheral IV chemotherapy (kee-moh-THER-ah-pee) is given through an IV (small plastic tube) placed into your hand or arm. Your caregiver will make sure that the IV works and medicine can be given through it. Your caregiver will then give the chemotherapy through the IV.
  • Your caregiver may put a new IV into your vein before each dose of chemotherapy, or "chemo". The IV may then be removed after you get your chemotherapy. Your caregiver may leave the IV in your vein for a few days. Chemotherapy may be given quickly through the IV, or it may take a few hours to have each treatment.
  • Your caregiver will decide what type of chemo you will get, and how you will get it. How often and the length of time you get chemo depends on the type of cancer you have. It also depends on the type of chemo medicine being used, and how your body handles the chemo.



  • Always take your medicine as directed by your caregiver. You may be given many different types of medicine to help with the side effects. If you feel your medicine is not helping or you are having side effects, let your caregiver know.
  • Know how to protect yourself from getting an infection while getting chemo. You should stay away from people who are sick with a cold, the flu or sore throat. You should also stay away from small children who have recently been vaccinated (phonetics) for chicken pox or polio. Stay away from crowds, and crowded places. Your caregiver may give you more instructions about protecting yourself from infection.
  • Follow your caregiver's instructions about preventing nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting (throwing up).
  • Follow your caregiver's instructions about decreasing or taking away your pain.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Eat a variety of healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, breads, dairy products, meat, and fish. If you do not feel like eating, try to eat smaller meals, more often. Eat foods high in protein and calories, such as milk, cheese, and eggs. Always check with your caregiver before starting a new diet. Ask your caregiver for more information about eating and drinking while being treated for cancer.
  • Follow your caregiver's advice about your specific chemo drugs. There are many different kinds of chemo drugs. Instructions from your caregiver, such as side effects to watch for, may depend on your medicine. Ask your caregiver for more information about your medicines and care.

Is there anything special I need to do when I get home?

  • Chemo is in your body fluids, including your blood, urine, BMs, and sputum (spit). Because of this, you will need to follow special instructions with your body fluids. Family members and friends must not touch any of your body fluids. If they do, the chemo can harm their skin and possibly other organs. A caregiver will teach you special rules when getting chemo.
  • Wash your hands immediately if you get chemo on them. Chemo can harm the skin and eyes. Check with your caregiver for instructions about what to do if chemo gets on your skin or in your eyes.
  • You may be given special containers to get rid of chemo and the supplies after you are done using them. Follow your caregiver's instructions about how to dispose of medicine and supplies.

When is my next medical appointment?

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.


  • You have a fever.
  • The area where you get your IM shot is painful, red, or swollen.
  • You have nausea, vomiting, or no appetite for several days.
  • You are very tired and have no energy for several days.
  • You notice sores or white spots in your mouth.
  • You have constipation (hard, BMs less often than usual) or diarrhea (loose stools) for more than one day.
  • You bruise easily, or have small, red spots under your skin.
  • You have any unusual bleeding.
  • You have any signs or symptoms of infection, such as a high temperature, swelling, or pain.
  • You feel very sad for several days.
  • You feel like your heart is beating very fast.
  • You have frequent, painful urination.
  • You have a cough that is new, or that does not go away.


  • You have chest pain, shortness of breath, or trouble breathing.
  • You feel confused, have frequent headaches, or trouble seeing.
  • You see swelling, feel pain, or have a hot feeling in your arms or legs.
  • You see blood in your urine or BMs.
  • You see swelling in the arm where you are getting the peripheral IV chemo.
  • You cannot move the arm where you get the peripheral IV chemo.
  • You feel dizzy or feel faint (like you are going to pass out).
  • You are bleeding and cannot get the bleeding to stop.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

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