Drugs Used for Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is a potentially fatal disease that involves rapidly dividing cells in the cervix (a female reproductive structure). The Mayo Clinic says that cervical cancer signs include vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, pain during intercourse and heavy vaginal discharge. Fortunately, there are drugs available to help slow the progression of this disease.

Fluorouracil

Fluorouracil, commonly sold as Adrucil, is a medication used to treat cervical cancer, as well as cancers of the breast, rectum, stomach and pancreas. Drugs.com says that this medication is an antimetabolite medication that works to disrupt cancer cell growth. Fluorouracil is available as an injection that is given on four successive days.

Fluorouracil’s common side effects include heartburn, diarrhea or mouth and lips sores. Some of its less serious side effects include fever, chills, black stools, vomiting, nausea and stomach cramps. Notify your physician when fluorouracil’s side effects last for greater than six days.

Fluorouracil’s rare, but serious, side effects include bloody stools, easy bleeding or bruising, shortness of breath, and tingling or swelling of the feet or hands. Notify your doctor when fluorouracil leads to these effects.

A change in the dose of fluorouracil may be necessary when taking such medications as leucovorin, phenytoin, levamisole and levoleukovorin.

Ifosfamide

Ifosfamide, commonly sold as Ifex, is another medication that treats cervical cancer. It can also treat testicular cancer. Drugs.com says that ifosfamide is an antineoplastic medication that also stops cancer cell growth. Ifosfamide is a medication taken intravenously (through a vein). The dosage depends on the type of cancer.

Ifosfamide’s less serious side effects include mouth sores, diarrhea, temporary hair loss, vomiting and nausea. Notify your physician when ifosfamide’s less concerning side effects remain for greater than five days.

Ifosfamide’s serious side effects include back pain, bloody urine, confusion, hallucinations, easy bleeding or bruising, fever, chills, and sore throat. This medication can also lead to an allergic reaction. Signs of an allergic reaction include trouble breathing, shortness of breath and swelling of the face, tongue or lips. Call 911 when these effects develop.

An alteration in the dose of ifosfamide may be necessary if you suffer from kidney disease, have bone marrow problems or have a history of taking chemotherapy medications.

Cisplatin

Cisplatin, commonly sold as Platinol-AQ, is a medication used to manage cervical, ovarian, testicular and bladder cancer. MedlinePlus says that cisplatin is a platinum-containing compound that is used to slow the progression of cancer cells. Cisplatin is available as an intravenous injection that is typically given each day for five days. Your doctor will determine how many cycles of cisplatin are necessary to treat the cancer.

Cisplatin’s less concerning side effects include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, weight loss and appetite loss. This drug can also lead to numbness or tingling of the toes and fingertips, changes in taste, and thinning of the hair. Call your doctor when cisplatin’s serious side effects develop.

About this Author

Lisabetta Divita is a physician whose love for writing flourished while she was exposed to all facets of the medical field during her training. Her writings are currently featured in prominent medical magazines and LIVESTRONG. She holds a Doctorate in medicine, Masters in biomedicine, and Bachelors of Science in biology from Boston College.