Drugs Used In The Treatment Of Blood Cancer

Different drugs are used in the treatment of various types of blood cancers depending on the stage and the person’s medical history and reaction. In this article, we discuss the most common drugs.

These drugs are not the most commonly used in leukemias, and few of these drugs are characterized as rarely drugs.

Drugs Used In The Treatment Of Blood Cancer

Aclarubicin:

Firstly, the drug is injected in the veins. The drug intercalates into the DNA of the person to inhibit the replication of DNA. It is for the treatment of non-lymphocytic leukemia, that is, blood and bone marrow cancers.

Side effects:

  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Vomiting
  • Cardiotoxicity
  • Oesophagitis
  • Heart damage
  • And then, bone marrow suppression in adverse cases

The medication is not for patients with severe heart disease, bone marrow depression, and hypersensitivity. It is also not for patients with kidney and liver issues and those with radiation-induced heart attacks.

Regular monitoring of blood count, uric acid level, and liver functioning are essential during the medication. The drug should also be at room temperature.

Alemtuzumab:

It treats both chronic lymphocytic leukemia and lymphomas. It is an antibiotic, which means it works on the immune system of the body and destroys the cancer cells. The drug is injected into the veins.

Side Effects:

  • Dizziness and drowsiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bone or back pain
  • Numbness or tingling of arms or legs
  • Allergic reactions
  • It could affect the skin, heart, central nervous system, respiratory system, and also lead to gastrointestinal issues.

Furthermore, it is not for patients with kidney and liver issues or those with radiation-induced heart attacks.

Doctors recommend regular monitoring of blood count, uric acid level, and liver functioning during treatment. Also, the drug has to be refrigerated.

Amsacrine:

Amsacrine treats acute adult lymphoblastic leukemia. It is an antineoplastic agent which goes along with chemotherapy drugs. It is also injected intravenously.

Side effects:

  • Increased risk of getting an infection
  • Liver changes
  • Diarrhea
  • Heart problems
  • Breathlessness
  • Confusion
  • Abnormal periods
  • Mouth sores or ulcers

It is strictly not for people with hypersensitivity and bad medical history. Breastfeeding and pregnant women need to be cautious before consuming this medication. It is also not for people who have a severe loss in blood cells and children below 12 years.

At the same time complete blood count, uric acid level, and blood glucose levels need regular monitoring.

Asparaginase:

The drug diagnoses lymphocytic leukemia. It is an antineoplastic agent and could be used alone or with other medications. Restricting the growth of the cancer cells, it is also injected into the veins or larger muscles under supervision.

Side effects:

  • Dizziness and drowsiness
  • Reduction in the platelet count
  • Stomach cramping
  • Central neurotoxicity
  • Allergic reactions
  • Poor appetite

It is not for patients with inflammation of pancreas and bleeding due to previous treatments and hypersensitivity and to patients with an adverse medical history. Breastfeeding and pregnant women are to be cautious before consuming this medication. Patients should also avoid vaccinations during this period.

Complete blood count, uric acid level, and blood glucose levels need regular monitoring during the usage of this drug too.

Azacitidine:

The drug treats myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). It is also an antineoplastic agent, which restricts the growth of cancer cells by killing abnormal cells in the bone marrow. However, patients with advanced liver cancer and hypersensitivity should avoid these drugs.

Side effects:

  • Dizziness or fainting sensations
  • Anemia
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Loss of appetite
  • Musculoskeletal issues

Furthermore, continuous usage of this drug could affect the:

  1. Heart
  2. Liver
  3. Central nervous system

Importantly, patients with an adverse medical history should avoid these drugs. Breastfeeding and pregnant women must be cautious before consuming this medication. Regularly monitor kidney and liver functions along with the platelet count during this medication. Physical contact with people with contagious infections should also be avoided. The drug should be at room temperature.

Blinatumomab:

This drug diagnoses B-cell precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), a white blood cell cancer that affects both children and adults.

It is for patients whose symptoms of cancer are mnimal but are still present with a minimum residual disease (MRD) score either greater than or equal to 0.1%. It is a monoclonal antibody that slows down or restricts the growth of cancer cells.

The drug is injected into the veins at a constant rate using an infusion pump very slowly for a period of 24 to 48 hours.

Side effects:

Patients have to monitor for the side effects, and the treatment needs to adjust accordingly. The possible side effects could be:

  • Cytokine release syndrome
  • Nerve disorders
  • Pancreatitis
  • Leukoencephalopathy
  • Constipation
  • Low blood cell count
  • Irregular heartbeat

In conclusion, if the side effects are severe, the drug usage has to discontinue after consulting the doctor. Patients who are allergic to blinatumomab or to those, whose weight is lesser than 22kg should consult their medical oncologists first. It is neither for pregnant women nor the ones who are breastfeeding.

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