The drugs ifosfamide and cyclophosphamide can sometimes irritate the lining of the bladder. This can cause bleeding from the bladder, which means you may have blood in your urine (pee). This is called haematuria. Mesna helps protect your bladder to prevent irritation and bleeding.
Mesna is always given with ifosfamide. Most people who have treatment with cyclophosphamide are not given doses high enough to cause bleeding from the bladder and so they will not need mesna. But mesna is given if your treatment involves having high doses of cyclophosphamide. Your doctor can tell you if you are having a high dose of cyclophosphamide.
While you are having mesna, your urine (pee) is tested for signs of blood. If you have blood in your urine, you will be given extra mesna.
You can help to protect your bladder during your treatment by:
- drinking plenty of water – at least 2 litres (3½ pints) daily. Your nurse can tell you how much you should drink
- emptying your bladder often during the treatment.