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Cisplatin Etoposide

Cisplatin Etoposide

What is cisplatin and etoposide?

Etoposide and cisplatin chemotherapy (EP/PE) Etoposide and cisplatin, which is also known as EP/PE, is a chemotherapy treatment used to treat several cancers.

How does Cisplatin + Etoposide work?

Cisplatin + Etoposide are designed to kill cancer cells by damaging DNA and preventing the lung cancer cells from dividing into new cells.

The drugs used in EP

EP is named after the initials of the drugs used for treatment. The drugs are:

  • E - etoposide
  • P - cisplatin, which contains platinum.

How EP is given

You will have EP in the chemotherapy day unit or during a short stay in hospital. A chemotherapy nurse will give it to you. During treatment, you usually see a cancer doctor, a chemotherapy nurse or a specialist nurse. This is who we mean when we mention doctor or nurse in this information.Before or on the day of treatment, a nurse or person trained to take blood (phlebotomist) will take a blood sample from you. This is to check that it is okay for you to have chemotherapy.You will also see a doctor or nurse before you have chemotherapy. They will ask you about how you have been. If your blood results are alright on the day of your treatment, the pharmacist will prepare your chemotherapy. Your nurse will tell you when your treatment is likely to be ready.

Your course of EP

You have chemotherapy as a course of several sessions (or cycles) of treatment over a few months. EP can be given in different ways. Below is a description of one way. Your doctor or nurse will be able to give you details of your treatment course.Each cycle of EP takes 21 days (three weeks).On day one of the cycle, you will have etoposide and cisplatin drips. On day two you will have a drip of etoposide, or you will be given etoposide capsules to take. On day three, you have an etoposide drip or capsules.You will then have a rest period with no chemotherapy for 18 days.At the end of the 21 days, you start your second cycle of treatment. This is exactly the same as the first cycle. Your doctor or nurse will tell you the number of cycles you are likely to have.

Serious and life-threatening side effects

Sometimes cancer drugs can result in very severe reactions, which rarely may be life-threatening. Your cancer doctor and nurse can explain the risk of these side effects to you.

Risk of infection

EP can reduce the number of white blood cells in your blood. This will make you more likely to get an infection. When the number of white blood cells is low, it’s called neutropenia.

Contact the hospital straight away on the contact number you’ve been given if:

your temperature goes over 37.5°C (99.5°F) or over 38°C (100.4°F), depending on the advice given by your chemotherapy team

you suddenly feel unwell, even with a normal temperature

you have symptoms of an infection – these can include feeling shaky, a sore throat, a cough, diarrhoea or needing to pass urine a lot.

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