Cisplatin

Updated 
August 31, 2015

Cisplatininfo-icon (Platinol) is a platinum-based chemotherapyinfo-icon. These medicines contain the metal platinum, and are used to treat many types of cancer. Cisplatin is sometimes called the “penicillin of cancer” because it has been one of the most widely used chemotherapy medicines and was one of the first effective cancer treatments.  

How Cisplatin Works

Cisplatininfo-icon kills cancer cells by damaging their DNA and stopping them from dividing.

How Cisplatin Is Given

Cisplatininfo-icon can be given alone, or with other chemotherapyinfo-icon medicines. Cisplatin plus gemcitabineinfo-icon (Gemzar) is a standard treatment for metastaticinfo-icon breast cancer.

Cisplatin is given by veininfo-icon. It is usually given once every 3 weeks, but the exact schedule depends on the combination of medicines used and your specific diagnosisinfo-icon. Many breast cancer chemotherapy regimens consist of 4 to 6 cycles of treatment given over 3 to 6 months.

Your doctor will ask you to drink plenty of water on the days you receive treatment to protect your kidneys.

Side Effects and Things to Remember

Common side effects may include:

Less common side effects include:

  • Kidney problems

If you have problems urinating, be sure to report them to your doctor. Seek immediate medical care if you have chills or a fever of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, which may be signs of infectioninfo-icon.

Before starting cisplatininfo-icon, tell your doctor about any medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbal supplements and over-the-counterinfo-icon medicines. Also tell your providers if you are allergic to any platinum-containing compounds (such as the cousin chemotherapyinfo-icon medicineinfo-icon, carboplatininfo-icon), have a history of kidney disease, are pregnant or may become pregnant. You should not breastfeed while you are on this medicine, because it can get into breast milk.

Cisplatin slightly increases the risk of developing leukemia, or blood cancer. Talk to your doctor about this and other risks of taking this medicine.

Your doctor, pharmacistinfo-icon or nurseinfo-icon can help you manage your side effects. You can also go to our section on Side Effects for more information.

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Article August 31, 2015
Article August 31, 2015