Drug Information

Amifostine

What is AMIFOSTINE?

(AMIFOSTINE) Amifostine is used to decrease the risk of kidney problems caused by treatment with a certain anti-cancer drug (cisplatin). It is also used to help prevent a certain side effect (dry mouth) caused by radiation treatment for head and neck cancer. Amifostine is thought to work by preventing certain chemicals from damaging healthy cells. It may also help repair cells damaged by cisplatin or radiation treatment.

How should I use AMIFOSTINE?

This medication is given by injection into a vein by a health care professional, usually 15 to 30 minutes before cancer treatment or as directed by your doctor. Dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to treatment. To decrease the risk of a certain side effect (low blood pressure), your doctor may direct you to lie down while receiving this medication. Also, if you are taking blood pressure medication, your doctor may direct you to stop taking it for 1 day before receiving this drug. Be sure to ask your doctor when to restart blood pressure medication. To decrease the risk of side effects (e.g., low blood pressure), drink plenty of fluids while using this medication unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take AMIFOSTINE?

Before receiving amifostine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: low/high blood pressure, dehydration, heart disease (e.g., irregular heartbeat, congestive heart failure), kidney disease, previous stroke. This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy or blur your vision. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness or clear vision until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis). Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not become pregnant if you are also using chemotherapy drugs such as cisplatin. Chemotherapy drugs may harm an unborn baby. Discuss the risks and benefits and the use of reliable forms of birth control with your doctor. It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Because of possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

What may interact with AMIFOSTINE?

Your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor or pharmacist first. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially of: blood pressure medications. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness such as opioid pain or cough relievers (such as codeine, hydrocodone), alcohol, marijuana (cannabis), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, lorazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants (such as carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine), or antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine). Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely. This document does not contain all possible interactions. Before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.

What if I miss a dose of AMIFOSTINE?

It is important to get each dose of this medication as scheduled. If you miss a dose, ask your doctor or pharmacist right away for a new dosing schedule.

What side effects may I notice from receiving AMIFOSTINE?

Flushing, chills, unusual feelings of warmth/coldness, blurred vision, dizziness, drowsiness, or pain/redness/swelling at the injection site may occur. Nausea and vomiting occur frequently and can be severe. Your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Eating several small meals, not eating before treatment, or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. If these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: fainting, fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, muscle spasms, mental/mood changes, seizure. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: fever, swollen lymph nodes, rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Where should I keep AMIFOSTINE?

Not applicable. This medication is given in a hospital or clinic and will not be stored at home.

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