List of Chemotherapy Drugs – Indications, Side Effects, Contraindications and Risks

Chemotherapy involves the administration of drugs that target and destroy cancer cells. These drugs can be given in a variety of ways. Some are pills, while others are solutions. Injections can be given directly into the bloodstream through an IV, or into muscle or fat tissue. Some drugs can be injected into a specific body cavity, or intrathecally. Other drugs can be applied topically to the skin. This list of chemotherapy drugs contains common medicines used to treat cancer. Each drug is effective against several types of cancer. The drug's side effects, contraindications and risks are included.

Carboplatin

Treats: Cancers of the head, neck, lungs and ovary.

Side Effects: Hair loss, confusion and nausea.

Contraindications: Patients allergic to cisplatin or similar platinum-containing drugs.

Risks: Bone marrow suppression.

Cyclophosphamide

Treats: Lymphoma, breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

Side Effects: Decreased appetite, nausea and decreased blood cell count.

Contraindications: Patients with reduced bone marrow function.

Risks: Tumor formation in the bladder.

Etoposide

Treats: Leukemia, lymphoma, testicular cancer and lung cancer.

Side Effects: Mouth ulcers, low blood pressure and nausea.

Contraindications: Patients allergic to the drug or its components.

Risks: Possible mutagenic properties.

Fluorouracil

Treats: Colon, breast and stomach cancer.

Side Effects: Diarrhea, mouth ulcers and photosensitivity.

Contraindications: Pregnant women and those with dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) enzyme deficiency.

Risks: Increased risk of contracting infections.

Gemcitabine

Treats: Cancers of the breast, pancreas, ovary and lung.

Side Effects: Fever, flu-like symptoms and nausea.

Contraindications: Patients allergic to the drug.

Risks: Suppression of bone marrow function.

Methotrexate

Treats: Breast cancer, bone cancer and lung cancer.

Side Effects: Nausea, dizziness, skin rash, mouth ulcers and hair loss.

Contraindications: Pregnant women and those with liver disease.

Risks: Toxicity.

Paclitaxel

Treats: Lung cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

Side Effects: Loss of appetite, change in taste and nausea.

Contraindications: Patients allergic to it or drugs made with polyoxyethylated castor oil.

Risks: Worsening of asthma and paradoxical bronchospasm with inhalation aerosol.

Vincristine

Treats: Leukemia and lymphoma.

Side Effects: Numbness or tingling in fingers and toes, weakness and reduced reflexes.

Contraindications: Patients with the demyelinating form of Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome.

Risks: Death if injected improperly. It should be injected intravenously. If it is injected intrathecally, the drug can be fatal.

Vinblastine

Treats: Lymphoma, testicular cancer and cancers of the head and neck.

Side Effects: Hair loss, constipation and jaw pain.

Contraindications: Patients with granulocytopenia or bacterial infections.

Risks: Death if injected improperly. It should be injected intravenously. If it is injected intrathecally, the drug can be fatal.

Topotecan

Treats: Lung cancer and ovarian cancer.

Side Effects: Diarrhea, nausea and hair loss.

Contraindications: Those allergic to the drug and those with suppressed bone marrow function.

Risks: Toxicity leading to neutropenia.

References

1. "Chemotherapy Drugs and Side Effects." Standford Medicine. https://cancer.stanford.edu/information/cancerTreatment/methods/chemotherapy.html

2. "Fluorouracil." Chemocare.com. https://www.chemocare.com/bio/fluorouracil.asp

3. RxList Inc. https://www.rxlist.com