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Generic Name: oxaliplatin (ox AL i PLA tin)
Brand Name: Eloxatin

What is oxaliplatin?

Oxaliplatin is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Oxaliplatin is used together with other cancer medications to treat colon and rectal cancer.

Oxaliplatin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about oxaliplatin?

Oxaliplatin can cause a severe or life-threatening allergic reaction. Get emergency medical help if you have: hives, itching, sweating; chest pain, warmth or redness in your face, feeling light-headed; sudden cough, difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving oxaliplatin?

You should not be treated with this medicine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to oxaliplatin or similar medications such as carboplatin (Paraplatin) or cisplatin (Platinol).

To make sure oxaliplatin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • kidney disease;

  • liver disease;

  • heart disease, heart rhythm disorder;

  • a personal or family history of long QT syndrome;

  • an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood);

  • high blood pressure;

  • asthma or other breathing disorder;

  • a nerve problem; or

  • if you are using a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven).

Do not use oxaliplatin if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether oxaliplatin passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

How is oxaliplatin given?

Oxaliplatin is injected into a vein through an IV. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. Oxaliplatin must be given slowly, and the infusion can take at least 2 hours to complete.

Oxaliplatin is given once every 2 weeks. Your doctor will determine how long to treat you with this medicine.

You may be given medication to prevent nausea or vomiting while you are receiving oxaliplatin.

Receiving oxaliplatin can make you more sensitive to cold, which can cause numbness, tingling, and muscle spasms. This includes exposure to cold temperature and coming into contact with cold objects. To prevent discomfort, follow these steps:

  • do not inhale deeply when you are exposed to cold air;

  • cover your skin, head, and face when you are outside in cold temperatures;

  • wear gloves when handling cold objects or refrigerated foods;

  • do not run an air conditioner at very cool temperature in your home or car (even during hot weather);

  • do not drink cold drinks or use ice cubes in drinks;

  • do not put ice packs on your body.

Chemotherapy often causes nausea or mouth sores. Do not eat ice chips to ease these discomforts because you will be more sensitive to cold. Talk to your doctor about other ways to treat nausea or mouth sores. You may be given other medications to prevent nausea or vomiting while you are receiving oxaliplatin.

Oxaliplatin can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. Your blood will need to be tested often. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.

Your heart function may need to be checked using an electrocardiograph or ECG (sometimes called an EKG).

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you miss an appointment for your oxaliplatin injection.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while receiving oxaliplatin?

Avoid cold temperatures and cold objects, including ice, cold drinks, and skin exposure to cold temperatures.

Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

This medicine can pass into body fluids (urine, feces, vomit). For at least 48 hours after you receive a dose, avoid allowing your body fluids to come into contact with your hands or other surfaces. Caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up a patient's body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.

This medication may cause blurred vision and may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert and able to see clearly.

Oxaliplatin side effects

Oxaliplatin can cause a severe or life-threatening allergic reaction. Some people receiving a oxaliplatin injection have had a reaction to the infusion within minutes after the medicine is injected into the vein. Tell your caregiver right away if you feel dizzy, short of breath, confused, sweaty, itchy, or have diarrhea, chest pain, warmth or redness in your face, or feel like you might pass out.

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • increased sensitivity to cold temperatures and cold objects;

  • numbness, tingling, or burning pain that interferes with daily activities;

  • severe or ongoing diarrhea or vomiting;

  • confusion, change in mental status, vision problems, seizure (convulsions);

  • pain or burning when you urinate;

  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums);

  • sudden chest pain or discomfort, wheezing, dry cough, feeling short of breath;

  • pain, redness, swelling, or skin changes where the injection was given;

  • dehydration symptoms--feeling very thirsty or hot, being unable to urinate, heavy sweating, or hot and dry skin;

  • heart problems--headache with chest pain and severe dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeats;

  • liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tiredness, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

  • muscle problems--unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness especially if you also have fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine;

  • nerve problems--jaw or chest tightness, eye pain, strange feeling in your tongue, problems with speech or swallowing; or

  • signs of infection--fever, chills, sore throat, mouth and throat ulcers, pain when swallowing, cough with mucus.

Common side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;

  • numbness or tingling;

  • infections, unusual bleeding;

  • abnormal liver function tests;

  • mouth sores; or

  • feeling tired.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect oxaliplatin?

Other drugs may interact with oxaliplatin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about oxaliplatin.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 9.05.

Date modified: October 14, 2016
Last reviewed: January 06, 2016