Carboplatin (Intravenous)

Carboplatin is normally used to treat cancer of the ovaries, but may also be used to treat other types of cancer in some conditions and situations, such as lung cancer, brain cancer, head and neck cancer, and neuroblastoma.

Overview

Carboplatin is an alkylating agent, which interferes with the growth of cancer cells and ultimately destroys them. It is injected intravenously by a doctor or other health care professional, and is normally taken at an interval of several weeks depending on the patient's specific needs and condition.

Conditions Treated:

  • Cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Head cancer
  • Neck cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Neuroblastoma

Type of Medicine:

  • Solution for injection
  • Alkylating agent

Side Effects

Mild Side Effects

Patients taking carboplatin may experience some unwanted side effects in addition to the therapeutic effects the drug has been prescribed for. Some of these side effects are just a result of your body adjusting to the medication, and should go away over the course of treatment. If these side effects do not subside, if they become bothersome, or if the side effects worsen over the course of treatment, let your doctor know. Your doctor may be able to suggest some treatments for these symptoms.

While taking carboplatin, you may experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as:

  • Stomach pain or abdominal pain
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Nausea or nausea with vomiting
  • A loss of appetite

You may also experience some weakness or tiredness. If these side effects interfere with your daily life, consult your doctor for remedies that can help you treat these symptoms. Some patients may experience a temporary loss of hair. This is not a sign of a serious health problem and is a normal side effect of carboplatin. After your treatment of carboplatin ends and you cease taking the medication, normal hair growth should resume. If hair does not begin to grow back after cessation of your carboplatin therapy, talk to your doctor.

Serious Side Effects

In addition to the therapeutic side effects of carboplatin and normal side effects, a small percentage of patients may experience side effects that can lead to more serious health problems or can be symptoms of more serious health problems. Some of these symptoms may not occur until months or years after the medication has been used and your regimen of carboplatin has ceased. Some of these delayed symptoms can point to extremely serious health problems, such as certain types of cancer, including leukemia. Before taking carboplatin, discuss these side effects and possible health risks with your doctor.

  • Abnormal or persistent pain at the injection site
  • Radiating pain in the lower back or side that is accompanied by fever or chills
  • Urination that is difficult or painful and may be accompanied by a fever or chills
  • Blood in your urine or stools
  • Stools that are black or have a tarry consistency
  • Fever or chills
  • Cough or hoarseness in the throat accompanied by a fever or chills
  • Difficult breathing or wheezing
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Consistent ringing in the ears
  • Blurred vision
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising on your body
  • Tingling or numbness in extremities such as your fingers or toes
  • Yellowing eyes or skin
  • Itching on your skin or a skin rash
  • Sores on your lips or in your mouth
  • Small red spots on the skin that look like pinpoints

If you experience any of these side effects or symptoms while taking carboplatin, check with your doctor immediately. You may need medical assistance or a discontinuation of carboplatin of these symptoms occur.

Dosage

Carboplatin is normally given by intravenous injection in a doctor's office, clinic, or other professional setting. All dosages and scheduling information given here are standards and guidelines provided by the manufacturer. Your doctor's directions about dosage and scheduling supercede any standardized directions.

Patients taking carboplatin for ovarian cancer normally take an injection of 360 mg/m2 every 4 weeks or 28 days. However, a course of carboplatin should not be repeated until the patient's platelet count is at least at 100,000 and the neutrophil count is at least at 2,000, due to the tendency of carboplatin to produce hemosuppressant side effects in patients. Dosages of carboplatin may also be calculated using the Calbert formula, which is based on the pre-existing renal function of the patient and possibly the desired platelet nadir of the patient. When given in combination with cyclophosphamide for advanced ovarian cancer, carboplatin may given in different dosages.

Patients taking carboplatin for cervical cancer in combination with other agents of chemotherapy as part of a BIC regimen normally take 200 mg/m2 of carboplatin intravenously every 3 weeks or 21 days.

Patients with impaired kidney or renal function are at an increased risk of severe bone marrow suppression. In this case, carboplatin dosage may need to be adjusted based on the patient's baseline creatinine clearance value for the initial dose of treatment. Dosage may need to be adjusted further based on the patient's tolerance to the medication and degree of bone marrow suppression, if any.

Interactions

Drug interactions have a chance of increasing your risk of side effects, or changing the way your medications work. Make sure you retain a list of all drugs, medications, and supplements you take regularly, whether they are prescribed by a doctor or taken over the counter. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you notice potential drug interactions with carboplatin.

  • Carboplatin may interaction with aminoglycoside antibiotics such as:
  • Neomycin or gentamicin
  • Water pills or loop diuretics such as bumetanide or furosemide
  • Nalidixic acid
  • Amphotericin B
  • Anti-seizure medications including hydantoins such as phenytoin

Warnings

Laboratory Tests

Patients taking carboplatin may experience health problems that may not manifest symptoms or side effects during the course of the treatment. These side effects can be detected in laboratory tests such as blood mineral levels for electrolyte depletion, blood counts for hematological effects, or kidney function tests. Patients taking carboplatin should therefore receive regular medical and laboratory tests while on the carboplatin regimen to monitor therapeutic progress and detect any side effects before serious health problems occur.

Overdose

An overdose of carboplatin may result in serious and immediate health problems, such as suppress respiration or trouble breathing, or passing out and loss of consciousness. If a patient taking carboplatin has trouble breathing or passes out, contact 911 or other emergency services immediately. An overdose of carboplatin without associated symptoms merits a call to a local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Cancer

Taking carboplatin may cause delayed health problems that may not show up for months or years after the medication has been taken or discontinued. Some of these health problems include certain types of cancer or cancerous growths, or cancerous diseases such as leukemia. Before starting a regimen of carboplatin, talk to your doctor about the risks involved and your chances of developing any of these health problems.

Increased Change of Infections

Carboplatin can reduce the number of white blood cells available in your body as a temporary side effect, but it can cause serious health problems while you are taking it. The reduced white blood cells mean that your body will be less able to fight off infection.

To reduce the risk of contracting a serious infection or bleeding during a period of low blood count, patients should take precautions. Avoid contact with people who may have an infection of any kind. Avoid situations where bruising or injury could occur, such as contact sports. Do not touch your mucous membranes, such as your eyes or the inside of your nose, without washing you hands immediately beforehand. Be careful when performing personal grooming that may draw blood, such as shaving or using a razor, cutting your nails or using a clipper, or using a toothpick, dental floss, or a regular toothbrush. Check with your doctor, nurse, or dentist about alternate ways to groom yourself or clean your gums and teeth that do not draw blood. Check with your doctor before getting any dental work done.

Immunizations and vaccinations can pose health hazards to patients who are taking carboplatin. During and after your courses of carboplatin, check with your doctor before getting any immunizations or vaccinations. There is a chance that you may contract the infection the vaccination is meant to prevent. After you have finished your course of carboplatin, check with your doctor to see if it is safe for you to get any immunization.

Check with your doctor immediately if you think you may be getting an infection. Signs and symptoms of an infection include chills or a fever, pain in the lower back or the side, hoarseness, coughing, or a sore throat, or urination that is difficult or painful. Contact your doctor if you notice any blood in your urine or stools or have black tarry stools, any unusual bleeding or bruising, or red spots on your skin that look like pinpoints.

Hearing or Vision Loss

When taking high doses of carboplatin, you may experience temporary vision loss. Normal vision will usually return several weeks after you finish your last dose of carboplatin. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience blurry or unusual vision.

Patients taking carboplatin may experience some symptoms of hearing problems, such as ringing in the ears or temporary hearing loss. Let your doctor know immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.

Allergic Reaction

It is possible to have a serious allergic reaction to carboplatin. Signs of an allergic reaction to carboplatin include skin rash, itching or swelling in the throat, face, or tongue, trouble breathing, and severe dizziness. If you experience any of these side effects while taking carboplatin, get medical assistance for an allergic reaction immediately.

Do not take carboplatin if you have had allergic reactions to oxaliplatin or Eloxatin, or to cisplatin or Platinol.

Hematologic Effects

Patients taking carboplatin may experience decreased electrolyte values, which may not have obvious side effects or symptoms. Some patients may have reduced sodium, magnesium, calcium, or potassium in their bloodstream while taking carboplatin.

Some patients taking carboplatin may experience bone marrow suppression or anemia.

Kidney Problems and Renal Effects

Carboplatin can cause kidney malfunction or kidney problems, such as a change in the amount of urine, blood in your urine, radiating pain in your back and sides, or pain or difficulty while urinating. Other renal side effects include abnormalities in creatinine test results or blood urea nitrogen results. Patients who have already had kidney problems have a higher change of developing kidney failure while taking carboplatin.

Pregnancy Warnings

Patients who are pregnant or who may become pregnant during the course of treatment should not receive carboplatin. Carboplatin can harm the unborn baby, causing spontaneous miscarriage or spontaneous abortion during pregnancy. Patients who become pregnant while on a course of carboplatin should inform their doctor immediately.

Blood Transfusions

Some patients may need to receive blood transfusions while being treated wit a regimen of carboplatin.

Storage

Carboplatin is normally administered at a doctor's office, so home storage advice is not needed. In case of home storage, check with your doctor for directions.

Summary

Carboplatin is an intravenously administered drug used to treat ovarian cancer, lung cancer, brain cancer, head and neck cancer, and neuroblastoma. This alkylating agent interferes with the growth of cancer cells and is meant to destroy them over the course of treatment. Carboplatin is given in a doctor's office, normally at intervals of 21 days or 3 weeks, or 28 days or 4 weeks.

Carboplatin may have some mild side effects, which are a result of your body adjusting to the medication and should subside over the course of treatment. While taking carboplatin, you may experience some tiredness or weakness. You may experience gastrointestinal problems such as stomach pain, constipation or diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, weight loss, or a loss of appetite. If you experience these symptoms, contact your doctor for assistance in relieving your side effects. You may also experience some temporary loss of hair, but normal hair growth should begin to resume several weeks after you cease treatment.

Carboplatin can have serious side effects which may lead to or be symptoms of more serious health problems, such as cancer or leukemia. Some of these side effects may not occur until months or years until you have ceased your treatment. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience abnormal pain at the injection site, unusual tiredness or weakness, ringing in the ears or blurred vision, or unusual bleeding or bruising. You may experience elimination problems such as radiating pain in the side or lower back, difficult or painful urination, blood or stools in your urine, or stools with a black or tarry consistency. You may experience yellowing eyes or skin, a skin rash or itching on the skin, tingling or numbness in the extremities, sores on the mouth or lips, or pinpoint pricks on the skin. Carboplatin may result in a severe allergic reaction.

Carboplatin decreases white blood cells in the body, and can lead to an increased risk of infection, bleeding, or bruising. Carboplatin may have deleterious effects on the bone marrow, iron or electrolyte levels, kidneys, or liver function.

Resources
Last Reviewed:
December 23, 2017
Last Updated:
April 04, 2018