Drugs used

Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids are steroid hormones that are produced naturally by the body in the adrenal glands. Prednisolone / dexamethasone / methylprednisolone are examples of corticosteroids used in the treatment of Leukemia. It is given orally two to three times a day. Some of the common side effects are : increase in appetite, weight gain, increase in energy levels, difficulty in sleeping, indigestion, increased risk of infection, increase in blood sugar levels and moods swings.

Vincristine

It is given into the blood vein intravenously(IV). Some of the common side effects are : nausea, vomiting, weight loss, diarrhoea, mouth sores, dizziness, headache, leg pain, difficulty in walking and hair loss.

Methotrexate

It is taken orally, given intrathecally (IT) in the spine and also given intravenously. Some of the common side effects are : nausea and vomiting, mouth sores, loss of appetite and hair loss.

Anthracyclines

Anthracyclines are very effective drugs and usually red or blue in colour. Anthracyclines used in the therapy include Daunorubicin / Doxorubicin / Mitoxantrone. It is given intravenously (IV). Some common side effects are : nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, low blood counts and hair loss.

Cytarabine

Cytarabine, also known as Ara C or cytosine arabinoside, is a class of chemotherapy drugs known as antimetabolites. It is given intravenously (IV). Some common side effects are : headache, nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, low blood counts.

6-Mercaptopurine

6-MP or Mercaptopurine is an anti-cancer chemotherapy medication which is classified as an antimetabolite. This drug is taken orally on an empty stomach, preferably 1-2 hours before or after meals. Common side effects are : low blood counts, liver toxicity. Skin rash, dry skin or itching are encountered as less common side effects.

L-Asparaginase

Asparaginase is one of the chemotherapy drugs. It is an enzyme which deprives leukaemia cells of essential nutrients so that they die. It is usually given by injection into a muscle intramuscularly (IM) or into a vein intravenously(IV). Some people receiving Asparaginase have an allergic reaction to the drug. Your child must remain in the hospital or outpatient department for at least one hour after an injection of Asparaginase to check for any allergic reaction.This reaction may be mild to severe. Signs of a mild allergic reaction include skin rashes and itching, high temperature, shivering, redness of the face, a feeling of dizziness or headache. Signs of a severe allergic reaction include any of the above, as well as shortness of breath.
If you are in hospital and your child shows signs of an allergic reaction, call a doctor or nurse immediately. If you are at home and your child shows signs of a severe allergic reaction, call an ambulance immediately.

Cyclophosphamide

Cyclophosphamide is a chemotherapy drug that works by slowing or stopping cell growth. It is given intravenously (IV). Some common side effects are : nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach ache, diarrhoea, or darkening of the skin/nails.