Many people don't know that chemotherapy can actually be done by taking oral medication. Indeed, most chemotherapy treatments are carried out by inserting fluids directly into a vein or through an IV. However, drinking chemotherapy drugs are also available for cancer patients. So, what distinguishes chemotherapy drugs from drinking with infusion? Is this drinking drug as effective as killing cancer cells? Who needs this medicine? See the full answer below.
Drinking chemotherapy drugs, cancer treatment options that can be done at home
Unlike chemotherapy, which usually uses intravenous lines, oral chemotherapy drugs come in the form of pills, tablets, and even syrup that you can drink at home, without having to be hospitalized. Although it can be done at home, do not worry, this drinking drug is still the same function with chemotherapy drugs in general, which is to kill cancer cells in the body.
So, even if taken, this drug will work and have a success rate that is almost the same as the chemotherapy drug that is inserted through infusion. However, this level of success actually depends on:
- The type of cancer you have
- How far and strong are cancer cells that have grown in the body
- Other types of treatment that are underway
- Age of patient
- Patient's health status
- The body's response to therapy
Some examples of drinking drugs given during chemotherapy are:
- Alteramine for ovarian cancer
- Capecitabine, for breast cancer and colon cancer
- Cyclophosphamide, for breast cancer, blood cancer, ovarian cancer, and lymph node cancer
- Etoposide, for lung cancer
Like infusion chemotherapy, this medication will usually be given in several cycles or at certain times. The doctor will provide a specific schedule for the medication you should take daily.
The schedule for taking this medication must be really applied. Because, these drugs are used to kill cancer cells, so that when you miss a medication schedule, it might affect the development of cancer that you have .
Comparison of infusion chemotherapy drugs with drinking
Apart from the different ways of using it, there are other things that distinguish chemo drugs from drinking with infusion. Anything?
- Inflicts less pain . If you use an intravenous drug, you need to be injected using a needle first, so taking a medication will reduce your pain.
- Requires special attention . Because you do treatment at home, you must make sure that the medication is used in accordance with the recommended dosage. For example, you should not forget to take medication, the number of doses must be appropriate, and stored in the right place. In addition, it is important to remember that you should take this medication with the right dose and time. If you feel better, you cannot immediately stop or reduce the dose of the drug. You should consult a doctor first.
- Requires a larger fee . These chemotherapy drugs that can be taken usually cost more than intravenous chemotherapy. Therefore, before taking cancer treatment, you should discuss with your doctor first about which treatment is suitable for your condition.
- More difficult to access . Unfortunately, currently drinking chemotherapy drugs are still difficult to obtain in Indonesia. Not all hospitals provide this medicine. So when compared, infusion chemotherapy drugs are still more recommended for reasons of availability in Indonesia.
What are the side effects of drinking chemotherapy drugs?
Because 'strength' is almost the same as infusion chemotherapy drugs, the actual side effects of this drug are not much different from infusion chemotherapy. So, what are the side effects of this medication?
- Sleep disorders
- Feeling weak
- Nausea and vomiting
- Drastic weight loss
- No appetite
- Hair loss
- Gums and mouth health problems, such as canker sores
- Skin health problems, such as flaking and dry skin
- Having trouble remembering and memory problems
The use of these drinking drugs in the long term can cause impaired kidney and heart function.
Important note before using drinking chemotherapy drugs
Before you undergo chemotherapy by taking oral medication, then there are some questions that you should ask your doctor, namely:
- What are the functions of each medication taken?
- How many pills or tablets should you take?
- When can I take the medicine? After or before eating?
- What if I forget to take medicine?
- What happens after I take medicine? Are there any direct side effects?
- How do you store good drinking chemotherapy drugs?
- How long should I take the medicine?
- Do you have to always see a doctor during taking the medicine?
Remember, cancer treatment usually takes a long time and will cause various side effects that you might not expect. For that, you must be really critical and ask questions about the treatment and its side effects to your doctor.
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