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What is Cytoxan?

Cytoxan (Neosar or cyclophosphamide) is a chemotherapy medication used to treat several types of cancer, as well as kidney disease in children. It’s also used for conditioning regimens for bone marrow transplants.

What are the most important things I should know about Cytoxan?

Using Cytoxan may involve a slight risk of developing leukemia or myelodysplasia. Prior to starting treatment, tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking — regardless of whether they are prescription drugs, over-the-counter, herbal medicines, or vitamins.

Do not receive any vaccinations without your doctor’s preapproval while receiving treatment.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or may be pregnant prior to starting treatment — since the medication could harm the fetus. Do not breastfeed while undergoing treatment. Whether you are a man or a woman, do not conceive a child while receiving Cytoxan treatment.

Due to a higher risk of infection, avoid crowds or people with a cold. If you have a fever or other signs of infection, call your doctor immediately.

Use a soft toothbrush and mix one teaspoon of baking soda and eight ounces of water as a mouth rinse three times a day to help prevent mouth sores. You should also:

  • Avoid contact sports or activities that may cause injury
  • Avoid sun exposure
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Avoid drinking alcohol
  • Maintain good nutrition
  • Do low impact exercise — such as walking

What are the common side effects of Cytoxan?

The most common side effects of Cytoxan treatment include:

  • Low blood counts — which can increase your risk of infection
  • Temporary hair loss — beginning between three and six weeks after starting therapy, with hair growing back after completing treatment
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Poor appetite
  • Discoloration of the skin or nails

Less common side effects (occurring in 10 to 29% of patients) include:

  • Infertility
  • Diarrhea
  • Mouth sores
  • Bladder irritation and bleeding

Contact your doctor immediately on an emergency basis if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • A fever of 100.4 degrees F (38 degrees C) or higher
  • Chills
  • Sudden chest pain
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of eyes)
  • Allergic reaction — symptoms include hives, breathing difficulties, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat

Contact your doctor on a non-emergency basis if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting more than four or five times within a 24-hour period
  • Diarrhea — four to six episodes within a 24-hour period
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Black or tarry stools
  • Blood in your stools
  • Blood in your urine
  • Pain or burning when urinating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Mouth sores
  • Joint pain
  • Weakness
  • An unusual decrease in the amount of urine

These are not all of the possible side effects of Cytoxan. Talk to your doctor about any side effects that you experience. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.