Highlights for cyclophosphamide
Cyclophosphamide is an injected drug that’s used to treat cancer. It’s used to treat many types of cancer.
Cyclophosphamide belongs to a class of drugs called alkylating agents. It works by stopping or slowing the growth or spread of certain cancer cells.
This drug may be given alone or in combination with other medications to treat your cancer.
A healthcare provider will give you this medication in a needle through your vein. You’ll receive your infusion at your doctor’s office or hospital. You won’t take this drug at home.
Common side effects include infections, nausea and vomiting, decreased appetite, stomach pain, or diarrhea. They also include mouth sores, hair loss, skin rash, fever without an infection, or changes in the color of your skin or nails.
What is cyclophosphamide?
Cyclophosphamide is a prescription drug. It is available in these forms: intravenous (IV) solution, which is only given by a healthcare provider.
This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you need to take it with other drugs.
Why it's used
Cyclophosphamide is an injected drug that’s used to treat cancer.
How it works
Cyclophosphamide belongs to a class of drugs called alkylating agents.
cyclophosphamide Side Effects
Most Common Side Effects
The most common side effects that occur with cyclophosphamide include:
infection. Symptoms can include:
- body aches
nausea and vomiting
changes in the color of your skin
changes in the color of your nails
If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious Side Effects
If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening, or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
infections. Symptoms can include:
- body aches
hemorrhagic cystitis and kidney toxicity. Symptoms can include:
- blood in your urine
- bladder pain
heart problems. Symptoms can include:
- shortness of breath
- chest pain
- fast or slow heart rate, or irregular heartbeat
lung problems. Symptoms can include:
- shortness of breath
liver disease. Symptoms can include:
- yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
- pale or clay-colored stool
- dark-colored urine
- stomach pain and swelling
cuts and sores that don't heal
a condition that makes it harder for your body to release water (syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone or SIADH). Symptoms can include:
- irritability and restlessness
- loss of appetite
- muscle cramps
- nausea and vomiting
- muscle weakness
Cyclophosphamide often causes nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. This can lead to dizziness, blurred vision, and trouble seeing, which could affect your ability to drive or use machines.
cyclophosphamide May Interact with Other Medications
Cyclophosphamide can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. Your healthcare provider will look out for interactions with your current medications. Always be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, herbs or vitamins you’re taking.
How to Take cyclophosphamide (Dosage)
Your doctor will determine a dose that’s right for you based on your individual needs. Your general health may affect your dose. Tell your doctor about all health conditions you have before your doctor or nurse administers the drug to you.
Cyclophosphamide comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.
If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don't take it at all
If you don’t receive your infusion, your cancer may not be treated or cured, or it may reoccur. Cyclophosphamide is used in combination with other chemotherapy drugs to kill cancer cells in your body. Receiving your dose on schedule helps cure, treat, or prevent your cancer from reoccurring or spreading to other parts of your body.
If you miss doses or don't take it on schedule
Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.
If you skip or miss doses/appointments
If you miss a dose or appointment, call your doctor right away to find out what to do.
If you take too much
You will be at higher risk for side effects such as heart failure, infection, and lower blood cell counts. Symptoms include trouble breathing, swelling in your legs, irregular heartbeat, fever, chills, and body aches. If you have these symptoms, go to the nearest emergency room right away.
How to tell the drug is working
Your doctor will do blood tests and scans to see how you’re responding to this treatment. This will tell you if the drug is working.
Cyclophosphamide can be a short-term or long-term drug treatment.
Some chemotherapy regimens are given as a set number of cycles given over a set period of time. Others regimens are given for as long as they’re effective against your cancer.
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- Cyclophosphamide [package insert]. (2014, October). Baxter Healthcare Corporation. Deerfield, IL.
- Cyclophosphamide (oral route, intravenous route). (2015, July 1). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved May 8, 2015 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugssupplements/cyclophosphamideoralrouteintravenousroute/properuse/drg20063307?p=1.
- Cyclophosphamide injection. (2011, September 15). National Institutes of Health/U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Retrieved May 8, 2015 from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a611044.html.
- Hemorrhagic cystitis. Managing side effects. (n.d.). Chemocare.com. Retrieved May 27, 2015 from http://chemocare.com/chemotherapy/sideeffects/hemorrhagiccystitis.aspx.
- What is Chemotherapy? (n.d.). American Society of Clinical Oncology. Retrieved May 8, 2015 from http://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/how-cancer-treated/chemotherapy/whatchemotherapy.
Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group
Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on May 20, 2016