Amifostine is used to decrease the risk of kidney problems caused by treatment with a certain anti-cancer drug (cisplatin). It is also used to help prevent a certain side effect (dry mouth) caused by radiation treatment for head and neck cancer. Amifostine is thought to work by preventing certain chemicals from damaging healthy cells. It may also help repair cells damaged by cisplatin or radiation treatment.
This medication is given by injection into a vein by a health care professional, usually 15 to 30 minutes before cancer treatment or as directed by your doctor. Dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to treatment.
To decrease the risk of a certain side effect (low blood pressure), your doctor may direct you to lie down while receiving this medication. Also, if you are taking blood pressure medication, your doctor may direct you to stop taking it for 1 day before receiving this drug. Be sure to ask your doctor when to restart blood pressure medication.
To decrease the risk of side effects (e.g., low blood pressure), drink plenty of fluids while using this medication unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
Flushing, chills, unusual feelings of warmth/coldness, dizziness, or drowsiness may occur. Nausea and vomiting occur frequently and can be severe. Your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Eating several small meals, not eating before treatment, or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. If these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: fever, rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before receiving amifostine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: low/high blood pressure, heart disease (e.g., irregular heartbeat, congestive heart failure), kidney disease, previous stroke.
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor or pharmacist first.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially of: blood pressure medications.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you also take drugs that cause drowsiness such as: certain antihistamines (e.g., diphenhydramine), anti-seizure drugs (e.g., carbamazepine), medicine for sleep or anxiety (e.g., alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants, narcotic pain relievers (e.g., codeine), psychiatric medicines (e.g., chlorpromazine, risperidone, trazodone). Check the labels on all your medicines (e.g., cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.
This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., blood pressure, serum calcium levels) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor to establish a new dosing schedule.
Not applicable. This medication is given in a hospital or clinic and will not be stored at home.
Information last revised October 2015. Copyright(c) 2015 First Databank, Inc.
With WebMD's Medicine Cabinet, you can check interactions with drugs.Go to medicine cabinet