Ifosfamide is a chemotherapy medicine used to treat certain types of cancer.
How is ifosfamide given?
It is given as an infusion into a vein (intravenously or IV) through a cannula, central venous catheter or implantable port.
What are the side effects of ifosfamide?
Nausea and vomiting
Anti-sickness drugs can be given to reduce or prevent these symptoms. Please tell your doctor or nurse if your child’s sickness is not controlled or persists.
Your child may lose all of his or her hair, or it may become thinner. This is temporary and the hair will grow back once the treatment has finished.
Bone marrow suppression
There will be a temporary reduction in how well your child’s bone marrow works, which means he or she may become anaemic, bruise or bleed more easily than usual and have a higher risk of infection. Your child’s blood count will be checked regularly to see how the bone marrow is working. Please tell your nurse or doctor if your child seems unusually tired, has bruising or bleeding, or any signs of infection, especially a high temperature.
Ifosfamide is a relatively new drug that comes from the same family as cyclophosphamide. Cyclophosphamide is known to reduce fertility if it is given over a long period of time at high doses. As ifosfamide is similar, its effect on fertility is currently being studied. Depending on the combination of drugs and the dose that your child is given, his or her fertility may be affected. If you feel you would like more information, please discuss this with your doctor.
Irritation of the bladder wall
Ifosfamide can cause irritation of the bladder wall. Your child will be given a drug called mesna and intravenous fluids to reduce or stop this irritation. He or she will also be encouraged to drink lots of fluids. Your child’s urine will be tested for blood while they are receiving ifosfamide.
Altered kidney function
Ifosfamide may change how well your child’s kidneys work, over a period of time. Your child may have a blood and urine test (TRP) or a GFR (Glomerular Filtration Rate) before treatment is started and then at stages during and after treatment to monitor kidney function.
Disorientation and sleepiness
There have been rare reports of children becoming disorientated while receiving ifosfamide. Your child will be closely observed. Subsequent drug therapy may be changed if your child experiences this side effect. If you feel you would like more information, please discuss this with your doctor.
If your child is given ifosfamide for a long time, there is a very small risk of him or her developing a second cancer after many years. If you feel you would like more information, please discuss this with your doctor.
Ifosfamide may cause the kidneys to retain water leading to the dilution of the salts in the body. This is known as SIADH (Syndrome of Inappropriate Anti-Diuretic Hormone). Rarely, this may lead to drowsiness, weakness or fits. If you feel you would like more information, please discuss this with your doctor.
Ifosfamide and interactions with other medicines
Some medicines can react with ifosfamide, altering how well it works. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving your child any other medicine, including medicines on prescription from your family doctor (GP), medicines bought from a pharmacy (chemist) or any herbal or complementary medicines.
Last reviewed by Great Ormond Street Hospital: May 2013
Ref: 2013F0785 May 2013
Compiled by the Pharmacy department in collaboration with the Child and Family Information Group
Please read this information in conjunction with any patient information leaflet provided by the manufacturer. However, please note that this information explains about the use of medicines in children and young people so may differ from the manufacturer’s information.
Each person reacts differently to medicines so your child will not necessarily suffer every side effect mentioned. This information does not constitute health or medical advice and will not necessarily reflect treatment at other hospitals. If you have any questions, please ask your doctor. No liability can be taken as a result of using this information.