Leukemia - Medications
Chemotherapy is the standard treatment for
many types of
leukemia. Even when a cure is not possible,
chemotherapy may help you live longer and feel better.
Chemotherapy for leukemia is usually a combination of drugs. This is
because different drugs attack leukemia cells in different ways. The
combination also helps keep the leukemia cells from becoming resistant to any
one drug. Other drugs used to treat leukemia help prevent infection and help
your body grow new blood cells (such as epoetin and hematopoietic stimulants).
Nausea and vomiting are the most
common side effects of chemotherapy for leukemia. But
having chemotherapy does not mean that you have to suffer with nausea and
vomiting. Your doctor may prescribe
medicines to control nausea and vomiting. There are
also things you can do at home. For more information on these side effects,
- Cancer: Controlling Nausea and Vomiting From Chemotherapy.
Your treatment plan will include the kind of medicine that works best for the specific type or subtype of leukemia that you have.
Medicines used for treatments for
chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) are taken orally (by mouth) or given
intravenously for limited periods of time. If there is
relapse, medicines are given again. For
chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), medicine is
usually taken by mouth for as long as needed. Treatment choices may
Medicine for nausea and vomiting
vomiting are common side effects of chemotherapy. These side effects usually
are temporary and go away when treatment is stopped. Your doctor will prescribe
medicines to help relieve nausea. These medicines include aprepitant, dimenhydrinate, phenothiazines, or serotonin antagonists.
What To Think About
There are a lot of
clinical trials of new medicines for leukemia. These
trials have made it possible for many people with leukemia to live longer. Ask
your doctor whether you are a candidate for participation in a clinical trial.
For more information, see www.cancer.gov/clinical_trials/ or