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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Cisplatin (Platinol®)


Brand Names: Platinol®, Platinol-AQ®

Cisplatin is used to treat non-small cell lung cancer, bladder cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, head and neck cancer, and testicular cancer.

Cisplatin is a type of chemotherapy drug. Specifically, it is part of a class of drugs known as platinum-containing compounds, which belong in the larger group of alkylating agents. Cisplatin works by interfering with the process of cell division, destroying cancer cells and slowing or stopping the spread of cancer.

This medication is given as an injection into a vein (intravenous). Each injection takes about one hour, though it sometimes is administered over a longer period, from 6 to 8 hours. It is usually given once every three to four weeks. The exact dose and schedule of cisplatin plus depends on your size and how well your kidneys are working, among other factors. Your doctor will recommend a regimen tailored to your needs.

As a part of your treatment, you may be given medicines to help flush cisplatin through the kidneys quickly. You also may receive intravenous fluids to help protect the kidneys. Before and after treatment you will need to drink 2 to 3 quarts of liquid a day as an additional measure to protect your kidneys. Your doctor will check your kidney function, blood counts and hearing before administering the medicine.

Cisplatin side effects

To prevent problematic interactions between cisplatin and other drugs, be sure to tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications. Also inform your doctor of any medications, both prescription and nonprescription, and supplements you are taking. You should also inform your doctor if you have or ever had diabetes, high blood pressure, liver tumor, liver disease or kidney disease, if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding.

Possible side effects of cisplatin may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Loss in ability to taste food
  • Hiccups
  • Dry mouth, dark urine, decreased sweating, dry skin, or other signs of dehydration

Some of cisplatin’s side effects can be serious. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Swelling, pain, redness or burning at the injection site
  • Pain, burning, or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Muscle cramps
  • Difficulty walking
  • Feeling of an electric-like shock when bending neck forward
  • Seizures
  • Sudden changes in vision, including loss of vision
  • Eye pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fever, sore throat, chills, or other signs of infection
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Black and tarry stools
  • Bloody vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds

Cisplatin may increase the risk of developing other types of cancer.

Please note that this list is not comprehensive. Patients may experience additional effects not mentioned above.

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), your team of cancer experts will explain each of the side effects of cisplatin with you in detail, as well as the side effects and expectations of all other medications planned as part of your individualized treatment plan.

Cisplatin for cancer treatment

Cisplatin is approved by the FDA for the following:

  • Treatment of metastatic testicular tumors, in combination with other chemotherapy agents, for patients previously treated with surgery and/or radiation therapy
  • Treatment of metastatic ovarian tumors, in combination with chemotherapy for patients previously treated with surgery and/or radiation therapy
  • Treatment of advanced bladder cancer, for advanced transitional cell disease that can no longer be treated with local treatments, such as surgery and/or radiation therapy
  • Treatment of non-small cell lung cancer that is locally advanced, advanced, or has metastasized (spread) to other parts of the body and cannot be treated with surgery

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), our integrative approach to cancer treatment works to fight your disease on all fronts and ensures that you remain at the center of everything we do. We encourage participation from both you and your family to make certain you are comfortable with all decisions made regarding your treatment.

The information provided here is for educational purposes only. In no way should it be considered as offering medical advice. Cancer Treatment Centers of America assumes no responsibility for how this material is used. Please check with a physician if you suspect you are ill. Also note that while Cancer Treatment Centers of America frequently updates its contents, medical information changes rapidly. Therefore, some information may be out of date.