Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Anemia: Oxaliplatin may cause low levels of red blood cells. If you experience symptoms of reduced red blood cell count (anemia) such as shortness of breath, feeling unusually tired or pale skin, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Your doctor will do blood tests regularly to monitor the number of specific types of blood cells, including red blood cells, in your blood.
Bleeding: This medication can reduce the number of platelet cells in the blood. Platelets help the blood to clot, and a shortage could make you bleed more easily. Tell your doctor of any signs that your blood is not clotting as quickly. Such symptoms may include black and tarry stools, blood in the urine, easy bruising, or cuts that won't stop bleeding.
Blood clots: This medication may increase the chance of blood clot formation in the small blood vessels of the body, causing reduction of blood flow to organs or the extremities.
If you have a history of clotting you may be at increased risk of experiencing blood clot-related problems such as heart attack, stroke, or clots in the deep veins of your leg. Discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
If you experience symptoms such as sharp pain and swelling in the leg, difficulty breathing, chest pain, blurred vision or difficulty speaking, contact your doctor immediately.
Cold temperatures: Exposure to cold temperatures can cause prickling, tingling, or abnormal sensations in the hands, feet, mouth, or throat. It may also cause throat or chest tightness.
To reduce your risk of these problems, avoid cold temperatures and cold objects. For example, avoid cold drinks and do not use ice cubes in your drinks. Do not put ice packs on your body or use an air conditioner at high levels. If exposed to cold air, do not breathe deeply. If you are getting things out of the freezer or fridge, wear gloves.
Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Oxaliplatin may cause dizziness, vision problems, and loss of sense of balance. Do not drive or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
Gastrointestinal (stomach and bowel) problems: Rarely, oxaliplatin can cause perforation (holes) in the stomach or intestines. If you experience severe abdominal pain, fever, vomiting, or black and tarry stools, contact your doctor immediately.
Heart rhythm: Oxaliplatin can cause changes to the normal rhythm of the heart, including the irregular heart rhythm QT prolongation. QT prolongation is a serious life-threatening condition that can cause fainting, seizures, and sudden death. If you are at risk for heart rhythm problems (e.g., people with heart failure, angina, low potassium or magnesium levels), discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Infection: As well as killing cancer cells, this medication can reduce the number of cells that fight infection in the body (white blood cells). Avoid contact with people with contagious infections and tell your doctor if you begin to notice signs of an infection, such as fever or chills.
Tell your doctor immediately if you notice signs of an infection, such as fever or chills, severe diarrhea, shortness of breath, prolonged dizziness, headache, stiff neck, weight loss, or listlessness. Your doctor will do blood tests regularly to monitor the number of specific types of blood cells in your blood.
Kidney function: Oxaliplatin can have harmful effects on the kidneys. If you experience signs of decreased kidney function, such as reduced urine production; fluid build-up; or swelling in the ankles, feet and hands; fatigue; or abdominal pain, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
If you have reduced kidney function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Liver function: Oxaliplatin may reduce liver function. If you have liver problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. Your doctor may want to test your liver function regularly with blood tests while you are taking this medication.
If you experience symptoms of liver problems such as fatigue, feeling unwell, loss of appetite, nausea, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, pale stools, abdominal pain or swelling, and itchy skin, contact your doctor immediately.
Lung problems: This medication may cause lung problems that make breathing difficult, including interstitial lung disease. If you experience a cough that doesn't seem to go away, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Medical tests: While you are receiving treatment with oxaliplatin, your doctor will recommend regular blood tests to monitor the health of your liver, kidneys, and blood cells. You will also have regular neurological exams to check the health of your nervous system.
Neuropathy: Neuropathy, or nerve changes, may occur while you are receiving oxaliplatin. If you experience symptoms of nerve changes (such as tingling or numbness in the hands, feet, or throat; muscle weakness; or unusual sensations that affect your daily activities), contact your doctor. These symptoms are usually temporary but may continue long term. Although uncommon, some people experience a type of neuropathy which causes a sensation of tightness or discomfort in the throat. This symptom usually goes away after a few minutes. Contact your doctor if you have any concerns.
Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome: Very rarely, this medication can cause a reversible brain problem called PRES (posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome). If you develop a seizure, headache, weakness, confusion, loss of vision, or other vision changes while using this medication, get immediate medical attention.
Pregnancy: There is a possibility of birth defects if either the father or mother is using oxaliplatin at the time of conception, or if it is taken by the mother during pregnancy. Effective birth control should be practiced by both men and women while using this medication. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately. This medication should not be used during pregnancy. Men should not father a child during treatment and for 6 months after receiving oxaliplatin.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if oxaliplatin passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. This medication should not be used by breast-feeding women.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.