Questions and Answers about Eloxatin

1. What is Eloxatin, and how does it work?

Eloxatin is a platinum-based anticancer drug. It is the platinum that destroys the cancer cells. The active ingredient in Eloxatin is oxaliplatin.

2. What is Eloxatin used for?

Eloxatin is given in combination with 5-fluorouracil plus leucovorin (5FU/LV) to treat advanced cancer of the colon or rectum (colorectal cancer).

3. Is Eloxatin a cure for colorectal cancer?

At this time, it is not known whether Eloxatin will improve symptoms of colorectal cancer or help patients live longer. In clinical trials, patients treated with a combination drug regimen of Eloxatin and 5-FU/LV had a longer time before tumor progression and a higher rate of tumor shrinkage.

4. Who should take Eloxatin?

Eloxatin is currently approved for patients whose cancer has recurred (come back) or advanced following therapy with a combination of 5-FU/LV and irinotecan. Eloxatin is not for patients with newly diagnosed colorectal cancer.

5. Who should not take Eloxatin?

* Eloxatin should not be given to patients with an allergy to platinum compounds. Some signs of an allergic reaction include: rash, hives, swelling of the lips and tongue, and difficulty breathing.
* Eloxatin should not be given to pregnant women or women who are trying to become pregnant, because Eloxatin may cause harm to an unborn child. Women should avoid becoming pregnant while being treated with Eloxatin.

* Eloxatin is not for patients with newly diagnosed colorectal cancer.

6. How is Eloxatin given?

Eloxatin is a clear liquid that is given though a drip into a vein.
7. What are the side effects of Eloxatin?

Eloxatin can cause numbness or tingling in the fingers and toes and around the mouth or throat. This side effect is usually worse if the patient is cold or around cold objects. It can happen a few hours or a few days after treatment. Sometimes the tingling or numbing may not happen with the first treatment but after several treatments. This is known as a cumulative effect and should gradually improve after treatment ends.

Eloxatin can cause a temporary drop in bone marrow function. This can cause

* a drop in white blood cells, increasing the risk of infection
* a drop in red blood cells (anemia), causing tiredness or shortness of breath
* a drop in platelets that results in bruising or bleeding

Patients should contact their doctor if they have:

* difficulty in swallowing
* breathing problems
* vomiting or diarrhea lasting more than 24 hours
* signs of losing much fluid (dehydration) such as:
o decreased urination, dizziness or light-headedness
o dry mouth
o increased thirst
* signs of infection such as:
o redness and swelling at injection site
o fever, sore throat, shivering
o pain when urinating

Other common side effects include:

* tiredness
* nausea
* mouth sores.

This is NOT a complete list of side effects reported with Eloxatin. Patients can discuss a more complete list of side effects with their doctor.

8. Where can I get more information about Eloxatin?