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Cyclophosphamide (Non-Cancer)

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Cyclophosphamide (Non-Cancer) - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Cyclophosphamide (Non-Cancer) cause?

Side effects may occur when taking Cyclophosphamide, but the majority of these effects tend to resolve spontaneously. Common side effects include:

  • Nausea and vomiting (can be controlled with anti-nausea medicines)
  • Hair loss (reversible once the medicine is stopped)
  • Loss of appetite or weight
  • Feeling tired or weakness
  • Darkened skin colour
  • Change in colour or growth of finger or toe nails

Consult your doctor or pharmacist about any symptoms that becomes bothersome.             

Before taking Cyclophosphamide (Non-Cancer) , what precautions must I follow?

  • ​STOP taking Cyclophosphamide and let your doctor know if you develop an allergic reaction. Rash due to allergic reaction to Cyclophosphamide is rare. Possible symptoms of allergic reaction are:
    • rash, hives, or itching
    • red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin with or without fever
    • wheezing or tightness in the chest or throat
    • trouble breathing or talking
    • unusual hoarseness
    • swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat
  • Cyclophosphamide may increase risk of developing certain kinds of infections due to reduced white blood cells (a key component of the body's immune system that helps to fight infections). Tell your doctor immediately if you experience any symptoms of infection such as temperature exceeding 38°C, chills, cough, painful or bloody urination, feeling very tired or weak.
  • Drink plenty of water to prevent irritation of the bladder or cystitis.
  • Although rare, Cyclophosphamide may increase the risk of developing certain kinds of cancers, such as bladder cancer. The risk is higher with long term use and higher cumulative doses of Cyclophosphamide. Your doctor will perform periodic screening to manage the risk.
  • While having treatment with Cyclophosphamide, you must see your doctor as scheduled to monitor response to treatment and minimize any possible side effect.
  • Cyclophosphamide may cause infertility in both men and women. Although women taking Cyclophosphamide can stop having menses or may experience early menopause, they can still become pregnant. Both men and women of childbearing age must use a reliable method of contraception to avoid the risk of an unplanned pregnancy as Cyclophosphamide can cause serious defects to an unborn child. You should not plan to have children while taking Cyclophosphamide and for a while after treatment. If you are planning to have a child, discuss it with your doctor before you begin the treatment
  • Cyclophosphamide passes into human breast milk and may cause serious unwanted effects to the child. You should not breastfeed if you are taking Cyclophosphamide.
  • Cyclophosphamide may interact with other medicine or supplement that you are taking. Inform the doctor, pharmacist or specialty nurse (such as dermatology, gastroenterology or rheumatology) before starting on a new medicine or supplement.
  • Immunization status should be current before starting the medicine. Do not receive any live vaccine while you are on Cyclophosphamide. Always consult your doctor before going for immunisation.

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Cyclophosphamide (Non-Cancer) ?

Avoid raw (e.g. sashimi) or half-cooked foods (e.g. half-boiled eggs) to prevent food poisoning.
  • Updated on 10/24/2017 12:00:00 AM
  • Article contributed by Pharmacy Department, Autoimmunity & Rheumatology Centre (ARC), Rheumatology & Immunology KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Singapore General Hospital
The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

This leaflet answers some common questions about Cyclophosphamide. It does not contain all the available information. It also does not take the place of talking to your doctor or pharmacist.

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