Why is carboplatin and docetaxel prescribed?
Carboplatin and docetaxel are a combination of two chemotherapy drugs. It is a treatment for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). It may sometimes be used to treat other cancers.
Docetaxel is in a class of medications called plant alkaloids. It works by blocking the action of a certain substance in the body that may help cancer cells multiply. Carboplatin is in a class of medications known as platinum-containing compounds. It works by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells.
How should carboplatin and docetaxel be used?
You will be given carboplatin and docetaxel in the chemotherapy day unit. A chemotherapy nurse will give it to you.
Your nurse will give you anti-sickness (anti-emetic) drugs before the chemotherapy. The chemotherapy drugs can be given through:
- a short thin tube the nurse puts into a vein in your arm or hand (cannula)
- a fine tube that goes under the skin of your chest and into a vein close by (central line)
- a fine tube that is put into a vein in your arm and goes up into a vein in your chest (PICC line).
You will have up to 6 cycles of docetaxel and carboplatin over 18 weeks. Your nurse or doctor will talk to you about how the treatment will be given.
Each cycle of docetaxel and carboplatin will take 21 days (3 weeks).
On the first day, your nurse will give you docetaxel as a drip (infusion) for over an hour. After this, carboplatin will be given for over an hour. You will then have a rest period with no chemotherapy for the next 20 days. At the end of the rest period, you will start your second cycle of docetaxel and carboplatin. This will be the same as the first cycle.
You may have steroids as an injection before your treatment. Or you may have them as tablets to take the day before your treatment. Steroids reduce the risk of some side effects. It is important to take these exactly as the doctor or nurse has explained to you.
What side effects can carboplatin and docetaxel cause?
Carboplatin and docetaxel may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Sore mouth/ throat
SERIOUS SIDE EFFECTS
If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
In case of emergency/overdose
Contact your doctor or nurse immediately if you have signs of infection, including a temperature above 37.5C or below 36C.
What other information should I know?
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. Bring this list each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
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