This drug is given into the vein (IV). If the drug leaks out of the vein and under the skin, it may damage the tissue, causing pain, ulceration, and scarring. Tell the doctor or nurse right away if you notice redness, pain, swelling or other symptoms at or near the IV.
Cisplatin can damage the kidneys. This risk is reduced by checking your kidney function before you get the drug, giving you extra fluids by vein, and asking you to drink extra fluids for a few days after the drug is given. This extra fluid helps to flush the medicine out of your system and protect your kidneys. Call your doctor if you see blood in your urine, or if you notice swelling in your feet or ankles.
This drug can damage your hearing and inner ear (balance), and occasionally cause deafness. Let your doctor know if you notice ringing in your ears, trouble hearing high-pitched sounds, or trouble with your balance. Your doctor may test your hearing before and during treatment.
You may have nausea and vomiting on the day you receive this drug or in the first few days afterward. Your doctor will give you medicine before your treatment to help prevent nausea and vomiting. You will likely also get a prescription for an anti-nausea medicine that you can take at home. It is important to have these medicines on hand and to take them as prescribed by your doctor.
Your doctor will likely test your blood throughout your treatment, looking for possible effects of the drug on blood counts (described below) or on other body organs such as the liver and kidneys. Based on the test results, you may be given medicines to help treat any effects. Your doctor may also need to reduce or delay your next dose of this drug, or even stop it completely. Keep all your appointments for lab tests and doctor visits.
Cisplatin can lower your white blood cell count, especially in the weeks after the drug is given. This can increase your chance of getting an infection. Be sure to let your doctor or nurse know right away if you have any signs of infection, such as fever (100.5° or higher), chills, pain when passing urine, a new cough, or bringing up sputum.
This drug may lower your platelet count in the weeks after it is given, which can increase your risk of bleeding. Speak with your doctor before taking any drugs or supplements that might affect your body's ability to stop bleeding, such as aspirin or aspirin-containing medicines, warfarin (Coumadin), or vitamin E. Tell your doctor right away if you have unusual bruising, or bleeding such as nosebleeds, bleeding gums when you brush your teeth, or black, tarry stools.
This drug may lower your red blood cell count. If this occurs, it is usually a few months after starting treatment. A low red blood cell count (known as anemia) can cause shortness of breath, or make you to feel weak or tired all the time. Your doctor may give you medicines to help prevent or treat this condition, or you may need to get blood transfusions.
Do not get any immunizations (vaccines), either during or after treatment with this drug, without your doctor's OK. Cisplatin may affect your immune system. This could make vaccinations ineffective, or even lead to serious infections if you get live virus vaccines during or soon after treatment. Try to avoid contact with people who have recently received a live virus vaccine, such as the oral polio vaccine or smallpox vaccine. Check with your doctor about this.
This drug can cause allergic reactions in some people while the drug is being given. Symptoms can include feeling lightheaded or dizzy (due to low blood pressure), fever or chills, hives, nausea, itching, headache, coughing, tightness in the throat, shortness of breath, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the face, tongue, or eyes. Tell your doctor or nurse right away if you notice any of these symptoms as you are being given the drug.
This drug may damage certain nerves in the body, and lead to a problem called peripheral neuropathy. This can cause numbness, weakness, pain, or sensations of burning or tingling, usually in the hands or feet. Constipation can also occur. These symptoms can sometimes worsen to include trouble walking or holding things in your hands. Let your doctor know right away if you notice any of them. If your symptoms are severe enough, this drug may need to be stopped or the dose reduced until they get better. In some people, the damage is permanent.
Because of the way this drug acts on cells in the body, it may increase your long-term risk of getting a second type of cancer, such as leukemia. This is rare, but if it does occur it would likely be years after the drug is used. If you are getting this drug, your doctor feels this risk is outweighed by the risk of what might happen if you do not get this drug. You may want to discuss these risks with your doctor.
Avoid pregnancy during and for at least a few months after treatment. Talk with your doctor about this.