This information is best when read with our general information about chemotherapy and your type of cancer.
If you're struggling to find what you need, call our Support line on 0808 808 0000 (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm)More ways to contact us
Treosulfan is a chemotherapy drug used to treat used to treat cancer of the ovary. It may also be used to treat other cancers.
It is best to read this information with our general information about chemotherapy and the type of cancer you have.
Treosulfan is usually given into a vein or as tablets. You usually have it as an outpatient. Your cancer doctor or nurse will tell you how often you will have it.
Like all chemotherapy drugs, treosulfan can cause side effects. Some of the side effects can be serious, so it is important to read the detailed information below.
Your healthcare team can give you advice on how to manage any side effects. Tell your doctor or nurse straight away if you:
Rarely, side effects may be life-threatening. Your cancer doctor or nurse can explain the risk of these side effects to you.
If you need medical attention for any reason other than cancer, always tell the healthcare staff that you are having this treatment.
This information is best when read with our general information about chemotherapy and your type of cancer.
You will usually have treosulfan in the chemotherapy day unit. A chemotherapy nurse will give it to you.
During treatment you usually see a cancer doctor, a chemotherapy nurse or a specialist nurse. This is who we mean when we mention doctor or nurse in this information.
Before or on the day of treatment, a nurse or person trained to take blood (phlebotomist) will take a blood sample from you. This is to check that it is okay for you to have chemotherapy.
You will also see a doctor or nurse before you have chemotherapy. They will ask you about how you have been. If your blood results are all right on the day of your treatment, the pharmacist will prepare your chemotherapy. Your nurse will tell you when your treatment is likely to be ready.
Treosulfan can be given as an injection into a vein or as capsules by mouth.
Your nurse gives you anti-sickness (anti-emetic) drugs and sometimes a steroid as an injection into a vein. They give you the drugs and chemotherapy through one of the following:
Your nurse gives you treosulfan as a drip (infusion) into your cannula or line every 1–3 weeks.
Some people might have side effects while they are having the chemotherapy:
Rarely, treosulfan may cause an allergic reaction while it’s being given. Your nurse will check you for this. If you have a reaction, they will treat it quickly.
You’ll be monitored closely during treatment, but tell your nurse or doctor if you feel unwell or have any of the following symptoms:
If this happens when you’re having treosulfan, it can damage the tissue around the vein. This is called extravasation. Tell the nurse straight away if you have any stinging, pain, redness or swelling around the vein.
Extravasation is not common. But if it happens, it’s important that it’s dealt with quickly.
If you get any of these symptoms after you get home, contact the doctor or nurse straight away on the number they gave you.
Before you leave hospital, the nurse or pharmacist will give you treosulfan capsules to take at home. Always take your capsules exactly as explained. This is important to make sure they work as well as possible for you. Always swallow them whole with a glass of water.
If you are sick just after taking the capsules, contact the hospital. You may need to take another dose. If you forget to take a capsule, do not take a double dose. Keep to your regular schedule and let your doctor or nurse know.
There are other important things to remember about your capsules:
You have chemotherapy as a course of several sessions (cycles) of treatment over a few months. Your doctor or nurse will tell you more about this and the number of cycles you are likely to have.
Before you go home, the nurse or pharmacist will give you anti-sickness (anti-emetic) drugs to take. Take all your tablets exactly as you’ve been told.
We explain the most common side effects of treosulfan here. But we don’t include all the rare ones that are unlikely to affect you.
You may get some of the side effects we mention, but you are very unlikely to get all of them. If you are having other chemotherapy drugs as well, you may have some side effects that we don’t list here. Always tell your doctor or nurse about the side effects you have.
Your doctor can prescribe drugs to help control some side effects. It is very important to take them exactly as your nurse or pharmacist has explained. This means they will be more likely to work better for you. Your nurse will give you advice about managing your side effects.
After your treatment is over, the side effects will start to improve.
Sometimes cancer drugs can result in very serious side effects, which rarely may be life-threatening. Your cancer doctor and nurse can explain the risk of these side effects to you.
Your nurse will give you telephone numbers to call the hospital if you feel unwell or need advice any time of day or night. Save these numbers in your mobile phone or keep them somewhere safe.
We’re not able to list every side effect for this treatment here, particularly the rarer ones. For more detailed information you can visit the electronic Medicines Compendium (eMC).
Treosulfan can reduce the number of white blood cells in your blood. This will make you more likely to get an infection. When the number of white blood cells is low, it’s called neutropenia.
Your nurse can tell you when your white blood cells are likely to be at their lowest. Contact the hospital straight away on the contact number you’ve been given if:
The number of white blood cells usually increases steadily and returns to normal before your next chemotherapy. You will have a blood test before having more chemotherapy. If your number of white blood cells is still low, your doctor may delay your treatment for a short time.
Treosulfan can reduce the number of platelets in your blood. Platelets are cells that help the blood to clot. Tell your doctor if you have any bruising or bleeding you can’t explain. This includes nosebleeds, bleeding gums, blood spots or rashes on the skin. Some people may need a drip to give them extra platelets.
Treosulfan can reduce the number of red blood cells in your blood. These cells carry oxygen around the body. If the number of red blood cells is low, you may be tired and breathless. Tell your doctor or nurse if you feel like this.
If you are very anaemic, you may need a drip to give you extra red blood cells (blood transfusion).
You may feel sick after chemotherapy. Your doctor will prescribe anti-sickness (anti-emetic) drugs to help prevent or control sickness. Take the drugs exactly as your nurse or pharmacist explains to you. It’s easier to prevent sickness than to treat it after it has started.
If you still feel sick or are vomiting, contact the hospital as soon as possible. They can give you advice and change the anti-sickness drug to one that works better for you.
You’re unlikely to lose all the hair from your head, but your hair may thin. This usually starts after your first or second cycle of chemotherapy. It is almost always temporary and your hair will grow back after chemotherapy ends. Your nurse can give you advice about coping with hair loss.
Feeling very tired is a common side effect. It’s often worse towards the end of treatment and for some weeks after it’s finished. Try to pace yourself and get as much rest as you need. It helps to balance this with some gentle exercise, such as short walks. If you feel sleepy, don’t drive or operate machinery.
During treatment and for several months afterwards, you'll be more sensitive to the sun and your skin may burn more easily than usual. You can still go out in the sun, but use a suncream with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, and cover up with clothing and a hat.
Treosulfan may irritate your bladder and cause discomfort when you pass urine. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids during the 24 hours following chemotherapy. Try to drink at least two litres (three and a half pints).
It is also important to empty your bladder regularly and to try to pass urine as soon as you feel the need to go.
Treosulfan can cause changes to the lungs. Always tell your doctor if you develop wheezing, a cough, a fever or feel breathless.
You should also let them know if any existing breathing problems get worse. They can arrange for you to have tests to check your lungs.
Rarely, treosulfan can increase the risk of developing a second cancer. The second cancer is usually leukaemia.
But the benefits of treatment usually far outweigh this risk. Your doctor can talk to you about this.
Cancer increases the chances of a blood clot (thrombosis) and chemotherapy can add to this.
A clot can cause symptoms such as pain, redness and swelling in a leg, breathlessness and chest pain. Contact your doctor straight away if you have any of these symptoms.
A blood clot is serious, but your doctor can treat it with drugs that thin the blood. Your doctor or nurse can give you more information.
Some medicines can interact with or be harmful when you are having chemotherapy. This includes medicines you can buy in a shop or chemist. Tell your doctor about any medicines you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs, complementary therapies and herbal drugs.
People having treosulfan should not have live vaccines. Your nurse or doctor can give you more information about this.
Your doctor will advise you not to become pregnant or father a child during treatment. This is because the drugs may harm a developing baby. It’s important to use contraception during and for a few months after chemotherapy. You can talk to your doctor or nurse about this.
If you have sex within the first couple of days of having chemotherapy, you need to use a condom. This is to protect your partner in case there is any chemotherapy in your semen or vaginal fluid.
Women are advised not to breastfeed during treatment and for a few months after. This is in case there is chemotherapy in their breast milk.
If you need to go into hospital for any reason other than cancer, always tell the doctors and nurses that you are having chemotherapy. Give them the contact details for your cancer doctor.
Talk to your cancer doctor or nurse if you think you need dental treatment. Always tell your dentist you are having chemotherapy.
Order booklets or audio CDs about chemotherapy. It includes how it works, having treatment and how it might affect you.
All types of treatment can have different side effects. Know what to expect to help you find the best way for you to handle them.
Our campaigns fight for real change for people affected by cancer. By taking action, you can help transform the lives of people with cancer. Join us in demanding the best in cancer support.
What's happening near you? Find out about support groups, where to get information and how to get involved with Macmillan where you are.
Read about our Community champions' experience of chemotherapy. They talk about what to bring to treatment, side effects and friendship between patients.
A support group for everything about chemotherapy, being treated and side effects. Tell others about your experiences and get answers to your questions.
We rely on a number of sources to gather evidence for our information. If you’d like further information on the sources we use, please feel free to contact us on: email@example.com
All our information is reviewed by cancer or other relevant professionals to ensure that it’s accurate and reflects the best evidence available. We thank all those people who have provided expert review for the information on this page.
Our information is also reviewed by people affected by cancer to ensure it is as relevant and accessible as possible. Thank you to all those people who reviewed what you're reading and have helped our information to develop.
You could help us too when you join our Cancer Voices Network – find out more at: http://www.macmillan.org.uk/cancervoices
Need to talk? Call us free* 0808 808 00 00 7 days a week, 8am-8pm
© Macmillan Cancer Support, registered charity in England and Wales (261017), Scotland (SC039907) and the Isle of Man (604). Also operating in Northern Ireland. A company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales company number 2400969. Isle of Man company number 4694F. Registered office: 89 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7UQ. VAT no: 668265007
We make every effort to ensure that the information we provide is accurate and up-to-date but it should not be relied upon as a substitute for specialist professional advice tailored to your situation. So far as is permitted by law, Macmillan does not accept liability in relation to the use of any information contained in this publication or third party information or websites included or referred to in it.