Arsenic trioxide (Injection)
Arsenic Trioxide (AR-se-nik trye-OX-ide)
Treats cancer, including acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL).
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
How to Use This Medicine
- Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
- Your doctor will prescribe your dose and schedule. This medicine is given through a needle placed in a vein.
- You will receive this medicine while you are in a hospital or cancer treatment center. A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
- Missed dose: This medicine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss a dose, call your doctor, home health caregiver, or treatment clinic for instructions.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Some medicines can affect how arsenic trioxide works. Tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following:
- Amphotericin B
- Diuretics (water pills)
- Heart rhythm medicine
- Medicine to treat mental illness, such as thioridazine
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- It is not safe to take this medicine during pregnancy. It could harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.
- Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding, or if you have kidney, liver, or heart disease, hypokalemia (low potassium), hypomagnesemia (low magnesium), or a history of heart rhythm problems, such as prolonged QT interval.
- Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.
- Cancer medicines can cause nausea and/or vomiting in most people, sometimes even after receiving medicines to prevent it. Ask your doctor or nurse about other ways to control these side effects.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Confusion, weakness, uneven heartbeat, trouble breathing, numbness or tingling in your hands, feet, or lips
- Dry mouth, increased thirst, muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting
- Fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat or pulse
- Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches
- Lightheadedness or fainting
- Red or black stools
- Seizures or tremors
- Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet, rapid weight gain
- Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, stomach pain or tenderness, upset stomach
- Dizziness, drowsiness, or trouble sleeping
- Muscle, joint, or bone pain
- Redness, pain, swelling, itching, blistering, or rash where the needle is placed
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088
- Last reviewed on 8/4/2014
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