Cisplatin is a chemotherapy medicine that is used to treat certain types of cancer.This page explains what cisplatin 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.Cisplatin is given as an infusion into a vein (intravenously or IV) through a cannula, central venous catheter or implantable port with extra IV fluids.

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.

Strange taste

It is possible that your child may experience a strange taste while receiving cisplatin. This is temporary.

Loss of appetite

It is possible that your child’s appetite may decrease while having treatment. If you are concerned about your child’s diet, please ask to speak to one of the dietitians.

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

Cisplatin 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.

Changes in hearing

As your child’s treatment progresses, they may not initially be able to hear high pitched sounds. If further treatment with cisplatin 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.

Numbness, tingling or aches and pains

This can happen because of the effect of cisplatin on your child’s nervous system. Your child may complain of aches and pains in their legs. If you notice your child has difficulty walking, please tell the doctor. The future dosage of cisplatin may then be lowered. These side effects are temporary and usually wear off a few months after treatment has finished.

Allergic reaction

Some children receiving cisplatin 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.


Please tell your doctor or nurse if your child has diarrhoea which is very bad or continues for more than a few days. It is important that your child drinks lots of fluids.

Interactions with other medicines

Some medicines can react with cisplatin, 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.
Compiled by:
The Pharmacy department in collaboration with the Child and Family Information Group
Last review date:
September 2019