Skip to content

    Cancer Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Leukemia - Medications

    Chemotherapy is the standard treatment for many types of leukemia. Even when a cure isn't 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.

    Recommended Related to Leukemia & Lymphoma

    Actor Evan Handler on Life After Cancer

    There have been times when it felt like I went back to being the same person. I didn't turn to God and become born again. I didn't retreat from big city life or remain vegetarian or macrobiotic. Other times I think I have been completely shaped by those experiences. I think my life has become about trying hard to move beyond the cancer.

    Read the Actor Evan Handler on Life After Cancer article > >

    Along with the chemotherapy drugs, other medicines may be given to help the chemotherapy drugs work better and prevent infection or bleeding. These drugs include epoetin and hematopoietic stimulants.

    Some types of acute leukemia spread to the brain and spinal cord. Regular chemotherapy can't reach those areas, because your body puts up a special barrier to protect them. A different way of giving chemotherapy, called intrathecal chemotherapy, treats these areas by injecting the drugs directly into your spinal canal to attack any leukemia cells there.

    Medicine choices

    For acute leukemia

    Your treatment plan will include the kind of medicine that works best for the specific type or subtype of leukemia that you have.

    For chronic leukemia

    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.

    Medicine for nausea and vomiting

    Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of chemotherapy. They usually go away when treatment stops. Your doctor will prescribe medicines to help relieve nausea.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    man holding lung xray
    What you need to know.
    stem cells
    How they work for blood cancers.
     
    woman wearing pink ribbon
    Separate fact from fiction.
    Colorectal cancer cells
    Symptoms, screening tests, and more.
     
    Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
    Blog
    what is your cancer risk
    HEALTH CHECK
     
    colorectal cancer treatment advances
    Video
    breast cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    prostate cancer overview
    SLIDESHOW
    lung cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    ovarian cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
    Actor Michael Douglas
    Article