Thiotepa: High-Dose for SCT (Generic Name)

Other Names: Thio-Tepa, thio-TEPA

About this drug

Thiotepa is used to treat cancer. It is frequently included in pre-transplant chemotherapy, usually for patients with advanced breast cancer. This drug is given intravenously (IV).

Possible side effects

  • Bone marrow depression. This a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Bone marrow depression usually occurs one week after the drug is given and may increase your risk of infection, fatigue, and bleeding. Transfusions of blood products may be required.
  • Nausea and vomiting. These symptoms may occur within six to 12 hours after you receive the drug and may last up to 12 to 24 hours.
  • Soreness of the mouth and throat. You may have red areas, white patches, or sores that are painful.
  • Hair loss. Most patients experience scalp and body hair loss. You may notice hair thinning within five days after receiving this drug.
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Decreased appetite
  • Darkening or bronzing of the skin
  • Allergic reactions to this drug are rare, but may occur in some patients. Signs of allergic reaction are shortness of breath, rash or itching, dizziness or lightheadedness, or palpitations (feeling your heart beat rapidly).
  • Sexual problems and reproduction concerns may occur. In men and women both, this drug may temporarily or permanently affect your ability to have children. This cannot be determined before your therapy. In men, this drug may interfere with your ability to make sperm, but it should not change your ability to have sexual relations. In women, menstrual bleeding may become irregular or stop while you are receiving this drug. Do not assume that you cannot become pregnant if you do not have a menstrual period. Women may experience signs of menopause like vaginal dryness or itching.
    • This drug may have harmful effects on the unborn child, so effective methods of birth control should be used during your cancer treatment.
    • Genetic counseling is available to you to discuss the effect of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. In addition, a genetic counselor can review the potential risks of problems in the fetus due to this medication if an exposure during pregnancy has occurred.

Treating side effects

Ask your doctor or nurse about medication that is available to help prevent or lessen nausea and vomiting.

  • Mouth care is very important. Your mouth care should consist of gently brushing with a very soft tooth brush and rinsing your mouth with a mixture of ½ teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water or 1/2 teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) in 8 ounces of water. This should be done at least after every meal and at bedtime.
  • Avoid mouthwash that contains alcohol. Avoid alcohol and smoking because they can irritate your mouth and throat.
  • Use effective methods of birth control during your cancer treatment.
  • Vaginal lubricants can be used to lessen vaginal dryness, itching, and pain during sexual relations.
  • Speak with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children. Ask for information on sperm or egg banking.

Food and drug interactions

There are no known interactions of thiotepa with food. This drug may interact with other medication. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of the medication and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs, and others) that you are currently taking.

The safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often unknown. Using these might unexpectedly affect your cancer or interfere with your treatment. Until more is known, you should not use dietary supplements or alternative diets without your cancer doctor’s advice.

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor or nurse immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or above; chills
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Difficulty breathing, hives or itching, dizziness or lightheadedness, palpitations
  • Uncontrolled nausea that prevents you from eating or drinking
  • Vomiting more than twice in one day

Call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • Yellowing of skin or eyes
  • Painful mouth or throat that makes it difficult to eat or drink

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