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Paraplatin (carboplatin)

Paraplatin is a chemotherapy drug used in patients with most types of recurrent brain tumors. For rare types of brain tumors, such as medulloblastoma or germ cell tumors, Paraplatin may be a first-line chemotherapy drug. It is also used to treat a variety of other types of cancer.

How is Paraplatin supplied?

This drug will be prepared by a pharmacist and administered to you intravenously by a registered nurse in an oncology treatment center.

How is Paraplatin administered?

  1. You will first have intravenous therapy (IV) in one arm
  2. Your nurse will administer nausea medications about 30 minutes prior to the chemotherapy infusion. These may be oral or by IV.
  3. Paraplatin is usually administered over a 60-minute period, although it may be less.
  4. This medication is administered once every four weeks.

What are common side effects of Paraplatin and how should I manage them?

  1. Nausea
    Take Kytril or Zofran as given by your treatment nurse, and continue taking every 12 hours for at least two days after chemotherapy is complete. There are also other drugs available to help with nausea if needed and these would be used in addition to your Kytril or Zofran (e.g., Emend, Compazine, Decadron, Ativan).
  2. Hair loss/thinning
    Paraplatin may cause hair thinning or loss. If this is concerning to you, talk to your healthcare provider. Your insurance may cover the costs of a wig.  There may be resources in the community for assistance as well.
  3. Bone marrow suppression (a decrease in WBC, RBC, PLT)
    • White Blood Cells (WBC) – infection fighters
      Your WBC may decrease while being treated with Paraplatin, and this is a normal side effect of the medication. Your WBC may be at its lowest point about three weeks after receiving the treatment. Report any fevers of 100.5° F or higher.
    • Red Blood Cells (RBC) – oxygen carriers
      Anemia may worsen over a period of months. Rarely, a patient may need a blood transfusion.  Platelets (PLT) – blood-clotting cells
    • Platelets may be affected by Paraplatin use and this is why your blood is tested three and four weeks after you are treated. If experience blood in your urine or stool, a nosebleed that does not stop or any unusual bleeding, you should immediately contact your neuro-oncologist.
  4. Fatigue
    Fatigue associated with Paraplatin is usually manageable for most patients. Fatigue may worsen during the week after chemotherapy, and for some patients the fatigue may linger after chemo is completed. Talk to your healthcare provider if fatigue is interfering with your activities of daily living.