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Amifostine (Intravenous Route)


Description and Brand Names of Amifostine (Intravenous Route)

US Brand Name

  1. Ethyol


Amifostine is used to help prevent or lessen some of the side effects on the kidneys and salivary glands that are caused by cisplatin (a cancer medicine) or radiation therapy.

Amifostine is to be given only by or under the immediate supervision of your doctor.

Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although this use is not included in the product labeling, amifostine is used in certain patients with the following medical conditions:

  • Mucositis in patients receiving radiation therapy or radiation combined with chemotherapy
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes

This product is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Powder for Solution

Before Using Amifostine (Intravenous Route)

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:


Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.


Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of amifostine in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.


Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of amifostine in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related heart, liver, or kidney disease, which may require an adjustment of dose in patients receiving amifostine.



There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Drug Interactions

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Other Interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Congestive heart failure or
  • Heart attack, history of, or
  • Heart disease or
  • Heart rhythm problems or
  • Kidney disease or
  • Stroke, history of, or
  • Transient ischemic attacks (TIA or mini-stroke), history of – Use with caution. May cause side effects to become worse.
  • Dehydration or
  • Low blood pressure – Should not be used in patients with these conditions.

Proper Use of Amifostine (Intravenous Route)

A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine in a hospital or cancer treatment center. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins.

This medicine is given before cisplatin therapy or radiation therapy. You may also receive other medicines to help prevent nausea and vomiting.

Drink plenty of fluids during the 24 hours before receiving amifostine.


It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to allow for changes in your dose. Blood tests may be needed to check for any unwanted effects.

Low blood pressure (hypotension) may occur with this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have the following symptoms: blurred vision; confusion; severe dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position suddenly; sweating; or unusual tiredness or weakness.

Serious skin reactions can occur with this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have a rash on the lips or mouth; red skin lesions on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet; sores or ulcers on the skin; or fever or chills while you are receiving this medicine.

This medicine may cause a serious type of allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have a rash; itching; trouble breathing; any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth; or chest pain after you receive this medicine.

This medicine may cause nausea and/or vomiting in most people, sometimes even after receiving medicines to prevent it. Ask your doctor or nurse about other ways to control these side effects.

Side Effects of Amifostine (Intravenous Route)

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

  1. Blurred vision
  2. confusion
  3. dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position suddenly
  4. fainting or loss of consciousness
  5. fast or irregular breathing
  6. itching
  7. nausea and vomiting
  8. red, scaly, swollen, or peeling areas of the skin
  9. skin rash
  10. sweating
  11. swelling of the eyes or eyelids
  12. tightness in the chest
  13. trouble with breathing
  14. unusual tiredness or weakness
  15. wheezing


  1. Abdominal cramps
  2. blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
  3. burning or tingling sensation
  4. chills
  5. convulsions
  6. cough
  7. cracks in the skin
  8. diarrhea
  9. difficulty in breathing
  10. fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  11. fever
  12. joint or muscle pain
  13. loss of bladder control
  14. loss of heat from the body
  15. muscle cramps in the hands, arms, feet, legs, or face
  16. muscle spasm or jerking of all extremities
  17. no blood pressure or pulse
  18. numbness and tingling around the mouth, fingertips, or feet
  19. palpitations
  20. red irritated eyes
  21. red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  22. shortness of breath
  23. sore throat
  24. sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
  25. stopping of the heart
  26. sudden loss of consciousness
  27. tremor
  28. unconsciousness

Incidence not known

  1. Difficulty in swallowing
  2. hives or welts
  3. hoarseness
  4. slow or irregular breathing

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Less common or rare

  1. Feeling unusually warm or cold
  2. flushing or redness of the face or neck
  3. headache
  4. hiccups
  5. nervousness
  6. pounding in the ears
  7. sleepiness (severe)
  8. sneezing

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.