Oxaliplatin is a medication used for the treatment of advanced cancer of the colon and rectum. This is a type of cancer that begins in the large intestine. The colon is the final part of the digestive tract. It typically affects older adults although it can happen at any age. Colon cancer usually begins as small and noncancerous clumps of the cells called polyps. Some of these polyps may become colon cancers. These may be minor and creates a little. Colon cancer, at times, is called colorectal cancer which is a term that combines colon cancer and rectal cancer. That it begins in the rectum. Signs and symptoms of this condition include:

  • Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
  • A persistent change in your bowel habits (diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool)
  • A feeling that your bowel does not empty completely
  • Persistent abdominal discomforts such as gas, pain, or cramps
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

Oxaliplatin is an anti-cancer (cytotoxic or antineoplastic) chemotherapy drug. This drug is classified as an alkylating agent. Oxaliplatin inhibits the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and protein in cells. All of these are vital for cells to divide and grow. By preventing them from dividing, this drug can stop cancer from growing.

This product is supplied in vials containing 50 mg and 100 mg of Oxaliplatin. It is slightly soluble in water at 6mg/mL and very slightly soluble in methanol. It is also practically soluble in ethanol and acetone. This comes as a sterile, preservative-free and aqueous solution at a concentration of 5mg/mL. Water for Injection, USP is present as an inactive ingredient. This is available in the dosage forms of 50 mg/vial, 100 mg/vial, and 200 mg/vial. The Food and Administration (FDA) has already approved this prescription.  

How does Oxaliplatin work?

Cancers form when cells within the body multiply abnormally and uncontrollably. These cells spread and destroy nearby tissues. Oxaliplatin works by stopping the cancer cells from multiplying. It does this by binding together the strands of the cells’ genetic material which is the DNA. DNA is needed for the growth and multiplication of cells. This drug damages the DNA inside the cancer cells and so prevents them from multiplying.

Unfortunately, Oxaliplatin can also affect normal and healthy cells particularly those that multiply quickly such as blood cells. The most important side effect is on the bone marrow where blood cells are made. This drug can lessen the production of blood cells leaving people susceptible to infection. Regular blood tests are therefore needed to monitor the levels of blood cells.

How to use Oxaliplatin?

The dosage is will depend on your medical condition, age, body size, and response to the treatment. To lessen the risk of side effects, your doctor may direct you to start at a low dose and gradually increase it. You must take it exactly as it is prescribed. Do not take more or less than it is given by your doctor.

Before using this product, check it visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. Clean the injection with rubbing alcohol before injecting each dose. Learn how to store and discard medical supplies safely. This medication is usually given by infusion into a vein over at least 2 hours. It is usually given every 2 weeks along with other prescriptions. Do not suddenly stop taking this medication without the consent of your doctor. Remember to take it at the same time and in the same way each day.

In most treatments, doses are administered in courses at various intervals. It is to allow normal cells to recover from the adverse effects of the anticancer medicines between doses. However, during this period, cancer cells will also recover and start to replicate again. Successful treatment depends on the administration of the next course of therapy. It is before cancer has regrown to its previous size. The net effect is to lessen the amount of cancer with each successive course.

What are the side effects of Oxaliplatin?

Common side effects:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Mouth sores
  • Changes in taste
  • Tiredness
  • Nosebleeds
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle pain
  • Weight gain
  • Vision changes
  • Temporary hair loss

Tell your doctor if you have serious side effects of Oxaliplatin:

  • Easy or unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Injection site reactions such as redness, pain, or swelling
  • Muscle cramps
  • Weakness
  • Signs of too much body water loss (increased thirst, dry mouth, and decreased urination)
  • Redness, pain, and swelling of the arms or legs
  • Fainting
  • Groin or calf pain

Get emergency help if there are any signs of an allergic reaction such as:

  • Hives or itching
  • Difficulty or trouble breathing
  • Swelling of your lips, face, throat, or tongue

Warnings and Precautions

  • Before starting this treatment, make sure to tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking (herbal remedies or vitamins). Do not take aspirin products containing aspirin unless it is given by your doctor.
  • Do not receive any kind of immunization or vaccination without the consent of your doctor.
  • Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or may be pregnant before starting this treatment.
  • While taking Oxaliplatin, do not conceive a child. Discuss with your doctor when you may safely become pregnant or conceive a child after the treatment.
  • You should not breastfeed while taking this medication.

Things to remember:

  • Avoid cold temperatures and cold objects
  • Cover your skin, mouth, and nose if you must go outside in cold temperature
  • Do not drink cold drinks or put ice packs in your body
  • Cover yourself with a blanket while you receive Oxaliplatin infusion]
  • Wear warm clothing in cold weather at all times
  • Drink 2 to 3 quarts of fluid every 24 hours and maintain good nutrition
  • Avoid sun exposure. Wear protective clothing.
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages while having this treatment
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Keep this drug at room temperature far from heat and moisture as well as from the reach of children.