Arsenic Trioxide Injection
What is this medication?
ARSENIC TRIOXIDE (AR se nik trye OX ide) treats leukemia. It works by slowing down the growth of cancer cells.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Trisenox
What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- Heart disease
- History of irregular heartbeat
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Low levels of potassium, calcium, or magnesium in the blood
- An unusual or allergic reaction to arsenic, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- If you or your partner are pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medication?
This medication is injected into a vein. It is administered by your care team in a hospital or clinic setting.
Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. While it may be prescribed for children as young as 4 years old for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
What if I miss a dose?
Keep appointments for follow-up doses. It is important not to miss your dose. Call your care team if you are unable to keep an appointment.
What may interact with this medication?
Do not take this medication with any of the following:
This medication may also interact with the following:
- Other medications that may cause electrolyte abnormalities, such as amphotericin
- Other medications that may cause liver damage
- Other medications that cause heart rhythm changes
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Your condition will be monitored carefully while you are receiving this medication. You may need blood work while taking this medication.
This medication may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon as chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment even though you feel ill unless your care team tells you to stop.
Talk to your care team about your risk of cancer. You may be more at risk for certain types of cancers if you take this medication.
Talk to your care team if you may be pregnant. Serious birth defects can occur if you take this medication during pregnancy and for 6 months after the last dose. Your will need a negative pregnancy test before starting this medication. Contraception is recommended while taking this medication and for 6 months after the last dose. Your care team can help you find the option that works for you.
If your partner can get pregnant, use a condom during sex while taking this medication and for 3 months after the last dose.
Do not breastfeed while taking this medication and for 2 weeks after the last dose.
This medication may cause infertility. Talk to your care team if you are concerned about your fertility.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?
Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:
- Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, confusion or trouble speaking
- Fever, cough, dizziness, feeling faint or lightheaded, shortness of breath, bone pain, sudden weight gain, swelling of the ankles, hands, or feet, which may be signs of differentiation syndrome
- Heart rhythm changes—fast or irregular heartbeat, dizziness, feeling faint or lightheaded, chest pain, trouble breathing
- High white blood cell level—fever, fatigue, trouble breathing, night sweats, change in vision, weight loss
- Infection—fever, chills, cough, or sore throat
- Liver injury—right upper belly pain, loss of appetite, nausea, light-colored stool, dark yellow or brown urine, yellowing skin or eyes, unusual weakness or fatigue
- Uncontrollable eye movements
- Unusual bruising or bleeding
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):
- Stomach pain
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Where should I keep my medication?
This medication is given in a hospital or clinic. It will not be stored at home.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
Additional Information From Chemocare.com About Arsenic Trioxide
- Drink at least two to three quarts of fluid every 24 hours, unless you are instructed otherwise.
- You may be at risk of infection so try to avoid crowds or people with colds, and report fever or any other signs of infection immediately to your health care provider.
- Wash your hands often.
- Tell dentists, surgeons and other doctors you use Arsenic Trioxide.
- To help treat/prevent mouth sores, use a soft toothbrush, and rinse three times a day with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of baking soda and/or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt mixed with 8 ounces of water.
- Use an electric razor and a soft toothbrush to minimize bleeding.
- Avoid contact sport or activities that could cause injury.
- To reduce nausea, take anti-nausea medications as prescribed by your doctor, and eat small, frequent meals.
- Avoid sun exposure. Wear SPF 30 (or higher) sunblock and protective clothing.
- In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be kept to a minimum or avoided completely. You should discuss this with your doctor.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Maintain good nutrition.
- If you experience symptoms or side effects, be sure to discuss them with your health care team. They can prescribe medications and/or offer other suggestions that are effective in managing such problems.
- Use birth control that you trust to avoid pregnancy while taking Arsenic Trioxide.
- If you are male, use birth control to protect a female you are having sex with from becoming pregnant while you are using Arsenic Trioxide and for some time after stopping. Talk with your doctor about how long to use birth control after stopping Arsenic Trioxide.
- For flu-like symptoms, keep warm with blankets and drink plenty or liquids. There are medications that can help reduce the discomfort caused by chills.
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help relieve discomfort from fever, headache and/or generalized aches and pains. However, be sure to talk with your doctor before taking it.
When to contact your doctor or health care provider:
Contact your health care provider immediately, day or night, if you should experience any of the following symptoms:
- Fever of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher, chills (possible signs of infection)
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Sudden weight gain
The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not an emergency. Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the following:
- Nausea (interferes with ability to eat and unrelieved with prescribed medication)
- Vomiting (vomiting more than 4-5 times in a 24-hour period)
- Rapid heartbeat (recurrent or persistent - does not go away)
- Diarrhea (4-6 episodes in a 24-hour period)
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Black or tarry stools, or blood in your stools
- Extreme fatigue (unable to carry on self-care activities)
Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.