Amifostine (Ethyol®) is among a class of medications called cytoprotectants or radioprotectants. It is designed to protect against negative side effects of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and the treatment of some types of blood cell diseases.
Amifostine may be recommended to reduce kidney damage in patients who take a chemotherapy drug called cisplatin. Amifostine may also help reduce salivary gland damage that causes dry mouth, a common side effect of radiation treatments for head and neck cancer. Amifostine is designed to bind to harmful unpaired molecules called free radicals and promote the repair of damaged tissue.
Amifostine, a powder that is mixed with a water solution for intravenous delivery, is typically administered 15-30 minutes before chemotherapy or radiation therapy is scheduled to begin. The drug may be combined with anti-nausea medication to reduce nausea, vomiting and other treatment-related side effects.