Streptozocin is sold under the name Zanosar in the US market and belongs to a family of medications called alkylating agents. Doctors use Streptozocin to treat pancreatic cancer, as it affects the way the cancer cells grow and divide. Streptozocin also affects the function of the pancreas which can cause serious health issues.
Scientific study of Streptozocin over the years has disputed the original identification of the drug as an antibiotic. Streptozocin is a chemical that occurs in nature and has been identified to directly affect insulin-producing cells found in the pancreas. The affect that Streptozocin has on the pancreatic cells is toxic and therefore desired to treat patients who have cancer in this area.
Streptozocin is an alkylating agent that zones in on the DNA found in the cells of the pancreas and stops them from dividing and multiplying, eventually killing off the cells. New cells are then generated by the body that are, hopefully, healthy and without cancer.
Streptozocin is administered in a chemotherapy unit of a hospital or clinic. After a blood test to clear the patient for chemotherapy treatment, an anti-nausea drug and, sometimes, a steroid will be given to prevent the patient from becoming ill during treatment. Streptozocin is then given in a vein in the hand or arm known as a cannula or through a PICC line, which is a tube that has been previously run through the arm into the chest or possibly through a central line, which is a tube under the skin of the chest.
Streptozocin directly affects the functions performed by the pancreas as it treats the cancer found in patients who have been prescribed this treatment. The pancreas secretes digestive enzymes directly to the small intestine to assist in breaking down food. The pancreas produces glucose-regulating insulin to assist the body’s energy functions.
If you experience any of these side effects after a treatment with Streptozocin, contact your physician right away as you may need medical assistance.
There may be other side effects as each patient is different and reacts to medications differently. If you have other side effects or symptoms than those listed here, check with your physician for advice.
Drinking extra liquids during treatment with Streptozocin is frequently advised by doctors, as this will prevent possible issues with the function of the kidneys. Feeling nauseated and experiencing severe vomiting while being treated with Streptozocin is quite common, but the treatment must continue. Check with your doctor’s office for advice on how to cope with the nausea typically experienced by treatment with Streptozocin.
Patients are different, as are their symptoms and severity of their disease; therefore dosage is different depending on each patient’s health situation.
Streptozocin is administered for five days every six weeks or daily for six weeks, also depending on your doctor’s prescription. Typically, patients are prescribed 500 milligrams in one injection given in the cycle described depending on the type of cancer.
Prior to treatment with Streptozocin, a blood sample will be taken to check various elements that determine whether you are ready for chemotherapy treatment. With a positive result, you will then be administered a shot of anti-nausea medication, as well as a steroid. These two medications will work together to prevent you from becoming very ill due to the side effects of the drug.
Streptozocin treatment is administered in one of the methods listed below:
In order to prevent any interactions with other substances you may be taking, provide your doctor with a detailed list of any prescription, non-prescription, vitamin, herbal or holistic treatments you are currently using.
The following is a list of drugs that may interact with Streptozocin, but may be incomplete. Check with your health care provider before combining this or other drugs such as:
Drug interactions can range from mild to severe and can involve the amount of Streptozocin that is absorbed to causing side effects to your general overall health and wellbeing. Seek the advice of your health care professionals prior to treatment with Streptozocin if you are on other medications.
Use of Streptozocin as a chemotherapy drug is a life-saving treatment. Unfortunately, this drug has been known to cause fetal risk and harm. If you are pregnant, it is advised that you consult with your physician on treatment with Streptozocin and the effect it will have on your fetus.
Breastfeeding women have not been studied while under treatment with Streptozocin to determine if they pass on any risks to their infants. Discuss treatment with Streptozocin while breastfeeding with your health care professional.
No data has been provided as the result of studies in age-related risks or efficacies with the treatment of Streptozocin. For this reason, children, as well as geriatric patients, should consult their doctor as to treatment advice with Streptozocin.
Use of alcohol, illegal drugs or tobacco products during treatment with Streptozocin should be discussed with your healthcare provider.
Certain other medical issues could affect the treatment regimen of Streptozocin. Inform your healthcare provider if you have the following health problems:
Use of Streptozocin has been shown to affect the severity of chickenpox and herpes zoster conditions as well as type-2 diabetes. Streptozocin affects the effectiveness of your body’s functions that fight infections, so care should be taken if you have an infection while under treatment of this drug. Patients with kidney or liver disease can experience an increase of the effects of Streptozocin, as their bodies are slower to remove the drug from the system.
After your cycle of treatment with Streptozocin is completed, do not receive vaccinations of any kind without the approval of your physician. As your resistance for fighting off infections is lowered, you may develop the infection you have been immunized for. Other people living with your should not receive live oral vaccinations such as polio as they could possibly pass the live virus on to you.
Seepage of Streptozocin onto the skin during treatment could cause scarring and tissue damage. If you have swelling, pain or redness at the treatment site, notify the doctors or nurses attending your treatment immediately.
As this drug is administered only in a clinical setting, specific storage information has not been provided for private individuals with regard to proper storage of this drug.
Streptozocin is a drug used for chemotherapy treatment in patients who have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Streptozocin is typically administered in 500 milligram doses in a treatment cycle that is either on a schedule of five days every six weeks or administered daily for six weeks. This treatment cycle is up to the individual physician and the type of cancer the patient has. Streptozocin is given either via a cannula, a PICC line or a central line as an injection into the vein.
Streptozocin treatment often causes patients to experience severe nausea and vomiting, even after the administration of a steroid and other anti-nausea medication. Additional side effects could involve flu like symptoms such as fever, chills and dizziness or difficulty urinating or smaller amounts of urine than expected. Any side effects that have been determined to be prolonged or severe should be reported to your physician immediately. Your health care provider will have advice on how you can deal with the side effects of chemotherapy treatment.
The list of drugs that interact with Streptozocin is quite extensive and involves not only prescription medication but some other treatments as well. For this reason, consult with your health care provider about all drug therapies you are currently taking including natural or vitamin therapies.
Streptozocin lowers the body’s ability to arm itself against infection. For this reason, it is best to avoid vaccinations with live viruses during a cycle of treatment with Streptozocin and long after to be certain of safety. It is also best to avoid others who have had live vaccines during this time. Notify your health care provider if you have an infection of any kind or have been exposed to the virus that causes shingles or chickenpox prior to being treated with Streptozocin.
Pregnant women should not be treated with Streptozocin, as this drug has been shown to cause fetal risks and harm. As this is a life-saving treatment, however, it may be necessary to weigh your treatment options with your physician if you are pregnant.