Posts Tagged ‘Cisplatin’

Alimta and Cisplatin for Mesothelioma Treatments

Alimta and Cisplatin for Mesothelioma Treatments

The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) have approved a combination of Alimta and Cisplatin for mesothelioma treatments, and other asbestos-associated diseases. The happens to be the first and only drug that is proved to help treat mesothelioma patients having any asbestos-associated disease approved by the FDA. Alimta was endorsed to be used with cisplatin, which is an approved chemotherapy agent good for malignant mesothelioma treatments, a deadly tumor of the lung lining, in mesothelioma patients who do not want to undergo surgery. One of the most lethal, painful, and devastating cancers a person can have is malignant mesothelioma. There are about 10,000 and 15,000 mesothelioma patients annually diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in the world, and it increases greatly every year. Several people do not even know that they have malignant mesothelioma until it has gotten to a severe and advanced stage, whereby mesothelioma treatments options of surgery or radiation are not necessary. Alimta/cisplatin have really proven different. There was a comparison of this combination with cisplatin alone with around 448 mesothelioma patients from 19 nations – the biggest trial till date among mesothelioma patients having malignant mesothelioma. The results shown was that the total survival rate was 30% increased (about Alimta/cisplatin was used for 12.1 months compared to 9.3 months for cisplatin alone), and about 50.3% of mesothelioma patients undergoing Alimta/cisplatin treatment lived a year after in comparison to 38.0% who had only cisplatin. It has been proved for the first time that chemotherapy assists mesothelioma patients with malignant mesothelioma extend their lives, which is something to count for. Furthermore, research have also shown that there was an lung functionality improvement when the Alimto/Cisplatin was used, compared to the use of Cisplatin alone. However, there are some vital safety information. There are hematolgoic and non-hematologic side effects related to the use of Alimta, and they are anaemia, neutropenia, nausea, thrombocytopenia, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, pain, and skin rash. In order to decrease the severity of the side effects, all mesothelioma patients using Alimta must take a dose of folic acid and intramuscular injections of vitamin B12 daily.

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Alimta & Cisplatin Chemotherapy for Mesothelioma Patients

Alimta & Cisplatin Chemotherapy for Mesothelioma Patients

Chemotherapy is often used in conjunction with surgery and/or radiation treatments for cancer. Chemotherapy can be used by itself in cases where the patient is not a candidate for surgery. In 2004, pemetrexed, also commercially known by its brand name Alimta, became the first chemical treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration specifically in the use of treating mesothelioma patients, a historic event for victims of the asbestos related cancer.

Alimta is only one half of the chemical equation, however. It is used as a combination drug in conjunction with Cisplatin, a platinum based chemical solution for a wide range of cancer patients. Together, the Alimta-Cisplatin combination can be used to prepare candidates for pre-surgery or assist with post-surgery, reducing or outright destroying tumors in the body. For non-surgical candidates, the combination has shown more success in the survival rate of patients than other forms of chemical or radiation treatments.

The Alimta and Cisplatin chemotherapy process is not a cure for malignant mesothelioma, but its usage has been proven to extend the life-span by an average of at least three months. By itself this may not seem to be very helpful, but if a patient is able to become eligible for surgical removal of the cancerous tumor then in that circumstance, the drug will have helped save a life.

Before and after the chemical procedure begins, the patient will be given Vitamin B12 and folic acid. In addition, the day before and after the treatment, a doctor will prescribe a corticosteroid, reducing the chance of an epidermal reaction.

Alimta is taken intravenously for approximately ten minutes every twenty-one days, and thirty minutes later Cisplatin will then be administered. Depending on the patient’s initial response to Cisplatin, the dosage may be reduced or increased. It is important that in attempting to cure the cancer that the liver is not permanently injured.

There are side-effects. This is because chemical therapy is not a pinpoint accurate solution for cancer as surgery is. That is to say, healthy cells will be affected along with the cancerous ones, and this is what causes the side-effects. There is no way to counter this properly, as chemotherapy is meant to kill the cancer cells and so one might think of the healthy ones too close to the cancerous ones as innocent bystander victims in the war against the disease.

The side-effects of Alimta include loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, mouth sores, skin rash, decrease of red cells which may result in greater risk of infection, decrease of white cells which may lead to anemia, decrease in platelets which may result in bruising and bleeding. The major side effects associated with Cisplatin include kidney damage, nerve damage, hearing loss, and hair loss.

Allergic reactions to Alimta are possible, and patients and those caring for them should be aware of the symptoms if a change in chemical treatment is necessary. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat, fever greater than 100.4 Fahrenheit, or hives.

Donald Nye is a respected researcher and writer that has been writing about asbestos-related health issues, such as mesothelioma, since 1987.

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Mesothelioma Chemotherapy-What is the Role of Cisplatin?

Mesothelioma Chemotherapy-What is the Role of Cisplatin?

Cisplatin is a chemotherapy drug containing platinum as its major constituent. This chemotherapy agent is used to treat different types of asbestos related cancers, including mesothelioma. Most of the time doctors often combine Cisplatin with newer chemotherapy medications to increase effectiveness of the treatment.

Cisplatin is not a newly discovered drug, it has been on the market for some time, though it was initially generally found to be ineffective in treating mesothelioma when it is used as a monotherapy, but when combined with the new chemotherapy drug Alimta, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2005, Cisplatin has proven to be an effective medication. The combination of Alimta and Cisplatin is presently considered to be one of the most effective chemotherapy treatments for pleural mesothelioma patients, especially in advanced cases where surgery might not be an option.

Cisplatin was the first drug to be discovered in the class of alkylating agents {it was discovered about 30 years ago}and it has more side effects than the newer generations of alkylating agents, so most doctors would have tried to use one of the newer chemotherapy agents before recommending treatment with Cisplatin.

If you are prescribed Cisplatin, you should discuss any potential concerns with your doctor. Make sure to review statistics on the effectiveness of Cisplatin and Alimta, the administration of the drug combination, and the side effects that patients encounter with treatment. It is imperative to take a B12 supplement orally starting a week before treatment begins, as well as weekly B12 shots throughout treatment.

When placed on Cisplatin you should also take folic acid supplements daily (by mouth), and you should continue taking it for 21 days after the last dosage cycle of Cisplatin and Alimta. Doctor will also prescribe an oral steroid to help minimize side effects such as skin rash. Patients taking other medications, either prescriptions or non-prescriptions such as supplements, must inform their physician to avoid potential serious drug interactions.

Cisplatin with Alimta is given to mesothelioma patients every 21 days on an outpatient basis, usually at a hospital or cancer treatment center. The treatment consists of a dose of Alimta by IV (which typically lasts about 10 to 15 minutes), followed by Cisplatin (which takes approximately two hours to administer). The number of cycles required will depend on the patient’s response to medications, as well as any side effects experienced.

Side Effects

Side effects of Cisplatin and Alimta are usually mild to moderate for most patients with pleural mesothelioma, and include:
•Thinned or brittle hair
•Loss of appetite or weight
•Changes in taste
•Numbness or tingling in the fingertips and toes
•Kidney toxicity
•Low white blood cells (neutropenia)
•Low red blood cells (anemia)

Patients experiencing any of the following symptoms should immediately call their doctor:

•Unusual bruising or bleeding
•Black stools
•Shortness of breath or wheezing
•Swelling of the feet or ankles

Sometimes patients may encounter extreme side effects, these should be reported to a medical professional immediately. Cisplatin could also cause severe kidney damage so you are also advised to take plenty of fluids when you are placed on this chemotherapy agent as this will aid its rapid elimination from the body and will reduce the tendency for the drug to accumulate in the kidneys.

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