What is this medicine?
ARSENIC TRIOXIDE (AR se nik trye OX ide) is a chemotherapy drug. It slows the growth of cancer cells. This medicine is used to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL).
How should I use this medicine?
This drug is given as an infusion into a vein. It is administered in a hospital or clinic by a specially trained health care professional.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
signs of infection - fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine
chest pain, tightness
fast, irregular heartbeat
feeling faint or lightheaded, falls
pain, tingling, numbness in the hands or feet
swelling of the ankles, feet, hands
unusual bleeding or bruising
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
What may interact with this medicine?
Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
herbal or dietary supplements with hawthorn, Crataegus laevigata
medicines for irregular heart beat like amiodarone, bepridil, dofetilide, encainide, flecainide, propafenone, quinidine
phenothiazines like chlorpromazine, mesoridazine, prochlorperazine, thioridazine
sodium phosphate monobasic monohydrate; sodium phosphate dibasic anhydrous
some medicines for infection like chloroquine, gatifloxacin, gemifloxacin, halofantrine, levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, pentamidine, troleandomycin
some medicines for mental problems like haloperidol, pimozide, ziprasidone
some medicines to treat cancer like dasatinib, lapatinib, sunitinib, vorinostat
This medicine may also interact with the following medications:
medicines for depression, anxiety, or psychotic disturbances
medicines for numbness, pain prevention, or sleep during surgery
some medicines for infection like, clarithromycin, erythromycin, mefloquine, norfloxacin, ofloxacin
some medicines to treat cancer like daunorubicin, doxorubicin
What if I miss a dose?
It is important not to miss your dose. Call your doctor or health care professional if you are unable to keep an appointment.
Where should I keep my medicine?
This drug is given in a hospital or clinic and will not be stored at home.
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
low levels of potassium, calcium, or magnesium in the blood
an unusual or allergic reaction to arsenic, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
pregnant or trying to get pregnant
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
Visit your doctor for checks on your progress. This drug may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon, as chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment even though you feel ill unless your doctor tells you to stop.
This medicine may affect blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, check with your doctor or health care professional before you change your diet or the dose of your diabetic medicine.
Avoid taking products that contain aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen unless instructed by your doctor. These medicines may hide a fever.
Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine.