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Arsenic Trioxide

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Antineoplastic Agent Asadin Adult

Arsenic Trioxide - What is it for

​Arsenic trioxide is used to treat a type of leukemia.

Arsenic Trioxide - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Arsenic Trioxide cause?

​Common side effects include

  • Differentiation syndrome: Shortness of breath, fever, sudden weight gain, increased white blood cells (Steroids may be given to help with the syndrome)
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Nausea and vomiting, and diarrhoea
  • Raised liver enzymes
  • Heart abnormalities

Inform your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Sign of an allergic reaction e.g. rash, itching, swollen, trouble breathing.
  • Sign of bleeding e.g. throwing up blood, blood in the urine, black and tarry stools, bleeding from the gum, bruises without a reason or that get bigger.
  • Sign of infection e.g. fever, chills, very bad sore throat, productive cough, pain with passing urine, mouth sores or wounds that do not heal
  • Sign of electrolyte imbalance e.g. mood changes, confusion, muscle pain or weakness, a heartbeat that does not feel normal, seizures
  • Severe headache or severe dizziness
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath
  • Irregular or fast heartbeat

Before taking Arsenic Trioxide, what precautions must I follow?

​Talk to your doctor before taking Arsenic Trioxide:

  • If you have or think you might have a problem with your heart
  • If you have any problems with your liver or kidneys
  • If you are taking any drugs that can cause electrolyte problems. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure
  • If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
  • If you are breast-feeding. Do not breastfeed while you are on this drug and for 2 weeks after your last dose

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Arsenic Trioxide?

​Tell your doctor or pharmacist the medicines you are taking including vitamins, natural products and supplements. There are no restrictions on your food or drink while you are receiving this drug.

Arsenic Trioxide - Dosage and How to Use

How should Arsenic Trioxide be used?

​Arsenic trioxide is given as an infusion into a vein over a period of time as ordered by your doctor.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

​Call your doctor to find out what to do

What should I do if I overdose?

​If you overdose on this medicine, inform your doctor immediately.

Arsenic Trioxide - Handling

How should I handle Arsenic Trioxide safely?

​This is a cytotoxic drug and requires precautions to avoid cytotoxic exposure. This drug will be prepared by the pharmacist in a controlled environment.

Arsenic Trioxide - Storage

How should I store Arsenic Trioxide?

Keep away from children;#Keep in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight;#Store at room temperature;#

How should I dispose of Arsenic Trioxide safely?

​Any unused drug should be disposed as cytotoxic waste or in accordance with local requirements. Please talk to your pharmacist if you have any questions about disposal of this drug.

Arsenic Trioxide - Additional Information

  • Updated on Wednesday, June 12, 2019
  • Article contributed by Pharmacy, Haematology Singapore General Hospital

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