Carboplatin is a chemotherapy medicine that is used to treat certain types of cancer. This page explains what carboplatin is, how it is given and some of the possible side effects. Each person reacts differently to medicines, so your child will not necessarily suffer from every side effect mentioned. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.Carboplatin 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?
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 very bad or continues for more than a few days.
Bone marrow suppression
There will be a temporary reduction in how well your child’s bone marrow works. This means they may become anaemic (reduced red blood cells), bruise or bleed more easily than usual, and have a higher risk of infection.
Your child’s blood counts will be checked regularly to see how the bone marrow is working. Please tell your doctor if your child seems unusually tired, has bruising, bleeding, or any signs of infection, especially a high temperature.
Altered kidney function
Carboplatin may change how well your child’s kidneys work over a period of time by causing the kidneys to leak important minerals and salts. Your child may have a blood and urine test or a GFR (Glomerular Filtration Rate) before treatment is started and then at stages during and after treatment to monitor kidney function.
Monitoring the level of medicine in the blood
Your child may have a blood test to monitor the amount of medicine in their blood. Doses of the medicine maybe changed depending on the result.
Changes in hearing
As your child’s treatment progresses, they may not initially be able to hear high pitched sounds. If further treatment with carboplatin is necessary, then your child’s hearing may deteriorate further.
Your child will have a hearing test before and during the course of treatment and at long-term follow up clinics. If your child develops a hearing loss, please discuss this with your doctor or nurse. If your child is of school age, you should also discuss this with your child’s teachers.
Temporary effect on liver function
Carboplatin can sometimes cause some mild changes to your child’s liver function. This should return to normal when the treatment is finished. Blood tests (LFTs) will be taken to monitor your child’s liver function during treatment.
Your child may lose all of their hair, or it may become thinner. This is temporary and the hair will grow back once the treatment has finished.
Some children receiving carboplatin may have an allergic reaction to the drug. 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 a headache. If you see any of these signs, please report them to a doctor or nurse.
Signs of a severe allergic reaction include any of the above, as well as shortness of breath or chest pain. If you are in hospital and your child shows signs of a severe 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.
Interactions with other medicines
Some medicines can interact with carboplatin, 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.
If these medicines leak into the tissues underneath your child’s skin, they can damage the tissue in this area. This is called extravasation.
- If given through a cannula and your child complains of stinging and burning around the cannula, please tell your doctor or nurse immediately.
- If given through a central venous catheter or implantable port and your child complains of pain around their chest or neck, please tell your doctor or nurse immediately.