Medications for Cervical Cancer

Here are the basics about each of the medicines below. Only common problems with them are listed.

Medicines may be given prevent, reduce, or manage side effects of treatment.

Prescription Medications

Antiemetics

  • Prochlorperazine
  • Ondansetron
  • Granisetron
  • Metoclopramide

Corticosteroids

  • Dexamethasone
  • Prednisone

Opioids

  • Hydrocodone
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone and acetaminophen

Blood Stem Cell Support Drugs

  • Filgrastim
  • Epoetin

Over-the-Counter Medications

Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen

Prescription Medications

Antiemetics

Common names are:

  • Prochlorperazine
  • Ondansetron
  • Granisetron
  • Metoclopramide

Antiemetics are given to treat nausea and vomiting. They may be taken by mouth, injection, or inserted into the rectum. It depends on the medicine.

Some problems may be:

For prochlorperazine:

  • Blurred vision, change in color vision, or problems seeing at night
  • Fainting
  • Loss of balance
  • Restlessness or need to keep moving
  • Shuffling walk
  • Stiffness of arms or legs
  • Trembling and shaking of hands and fingers

For ondansetron:

For granisetron:

  • Belly pain
  • Problems passing stool
  • Loose stools
  • Headache
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness

For metoclopramide:

  • Loose stools (with high doses)
  • Sleepiness
  • Restlessness
  • Increased risk of tardive dyskinesia (stiff, jerky body movements) if used longer than 3 months

Corticosteroids

Common names are:

  • Dexamethasone
  • Prednisone

Corticosteroids help to ease inflammation.

Some problems are:

  • Increased hunger
  • Belly fullness and discomfort
  • Nervousness or restlessness

Opioids

Common names are:

  • Hydrocodone
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone and acetaminophen

Opioids ease pain. These drugs can lead to addiction. They must be used with care.

Some problems are:

  • Lightheadedness or feeling faint
  • Sleepiness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Problems passing stool

Blood Stem Cell Support Drugs

Common names are:

  • Filgrastim
  • Epoetin

Filgrastim helps the bone marrow make new white blood cells. White blood cells help the body fight infection.

Epoetin helps the bone marrow make new red blood cells. It helps reduce the risk of anemia.

Both filgrastim and epoetin are given by injection in the doctor's office.

Some problems are:

For filgrastim:

  • Headache
  • Pain in arms or legs
  • Pain in joints or muscles
  • Pain in lower back or pelvis
  • Skin rash or itching

For epoetin:

  • Cough, sneezing, or sore throat
  • Fever
  • Swelling of face, fingers, ankles, feet, or lower legs
  • Weight gain

Over-the-Counter Medications

Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Common names are:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen

NSAIDs are used to ease pain and inflammation.

Some problems are:

  • Belly cramps, heartburn, pain, or discomfort
  • Sleepiness or lightheadedness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting

Special Considerations

When taking medicines:

  • Take your medicine as advised. Do not change the amount or schedule.
  • Be aware of the side effects of your medicine. Tell your doctor if you have any.
  • Talk to your doctor before you stop taking any prescription medicine.
  • Do not share your prescription medicine.
  • Medicines can be harmful when mixed. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking more than one. This includes over the counter products and supplements.
  • Plan for refills.

References:

Cervical cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/cervical-cancer. Accessed April 20, 2021.
Cervical cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed April 20, 2021.
Marquina G, Manzano A, ET AL. Targeted agents in cervical cancer: beyond bevacizumab. Curr Oncol Rep. 2018 Apr 2;20(5):40.
Treating cervical cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cervical-cancer/treating.html. Accessed April 20, 2021.
Treatment option overview. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/cervical/patient/cervical-treatment-pdq#section/_180. Accessed April 20, 2021.
Last reviewed March 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 4/20/2021

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