Carboplatin is a platinum based chemotherapy drug that was introduced to the public in the late 1980’s.  It is favored by many in the medical community because its side effects are known to be less severe relative to other chemotherapies.  Carboplatin is most commonly used to treat ovarian, lung, head and neck cancers, but has also shown some success in treating malignant mesothelioma.

About Carboplatin

Almost all chemotherapy drugs, including Carboplatin, are designed to kill cancer cells.
Carboplatin works by binding itself to the DNA of cancer cells and preventing their reproduction.  As the cancer cells cease to reproduce, they will gradually die off.
Carboplatin chemotherapy is administered intravenously.  The amount a patient receives varies and is determined by factors such as a patient’s height and weight, general health or other health problems, and their response to the drug.  On average, patients using Carboplatin receive the treatment about once a month.

Carboplatin Side Effects

Compared to most chemotherapy drugs, Carboplatin’s side effects are typically less severe.  That said, a mesothelioma patient taking Carboplatin should expect some unpleasant side effects, such as:

  • Hair loss
  • Impaired immune function
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mouth sores
  • Burning sensation at the injection site
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Impaired vision or hearing
  • Feelings of fatigue or weakness
  • Increased tendency for bruising or bleeding

A patient experiencing any of the following, less common side effects, should notify their doctor immediately:

  • High fever
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Black or tarry stools
  • Frequent diarrhea within a 24-hour period
  • Frequent vomiting within a 24-hour period
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Muscle cramps or twitching
  • Change in hearing
  • Dizziness, confusion or visual changes

One of the more potentially serious side effects sometimes caused by Carboplatin treatment is kidney damage.  Kidney damage is usually accompanied by symptoms such as:

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Pain during urination
  • Urine contains blood

Because Carboplatin reduces the body’s immune system, those taking the drug become more susceptible to infection.  When the body’s immune system is lowered in this manner, even catching a cold can be dangerous.  Anyone who is being treated with Carboplatin should consult with their doctor about the most effective ways to avoid exposure to germs and infections.
For more information regarding Carboplatin or other chemotherapy treatments for mesothelioma patients, please contact the mesothelioma treatment center today.