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This medication is used to treat advanced cancer of the colon and rectum. Oxaliplatin is a chemotherapy drug that contains platinum. It is used in combination with other medications to slow or stop cancer cell growth.

How it works

Oxaliplatin interferes with the development of DNA in a cell. This stops it from dividing into 2 new cells and kills it.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Oxaliplatin is used with other medications to treat advanced colon or rectal cancer (cancer that begins in the large intestine). Oxaliplatin is also used with other medications to prevent colon cancer from spreading in people who have had surgery to remove the tumor. Oxaliplatin is in a class of medications called platinum-containing antineoplastic agents. It works by killing cancer cells.

How should this medicine be used?

  • Oxaliplatin comes as a solution (liquid) to be injected into a vein. Oxaliplatin is administered by a doctor or nurse. It is usually given once every fourteen days.Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.
  • Side-effects of oxaliplatin treatment can potentially include:
  • Neurotoxicity leading to chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, a progressive, enduring and often irreversible tingling numbness, intense pain and hypersensitivity to cold, beginning in the hands and feet and sometimes involving the arms and legs, often with deficits in proprioception.[12] This chronic neuropathy may also be preceded by a transient acute neuropathy occurring at the time of infusion and associated with excitation of voltage-gated Na+ channels.[13][14]
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Neutropenia (low number of a type of white blood cells)
  • Ototoxicity (hearing loss)
  • Extravasation if oxaliplatin leaks from the infusion vein it may cause severe damage to the connective tissues.
  • Hypokalemia (low blood potassium), which is more common in women than men[15]
  • Persistent hiccups[16]
  • Rhabdomyolysis[17]

Outcome and Management

The majority of instances of sinusoidal dilatation, vascular injury and congestion found histologically after oxaliplatin therapy occur without significant serum enzyme elevations or clinically apparent liver injury.  Rare instances of acute onset of sinusoidal obstruction syndrome with ascites and hepatic failure have been described after oxaliplatin therapy, but usually when given in combination with other antineoplastic agents.  Repeated cycles of oxaliplatin and chronic therapy have been linked to nodular regenerative hyperplasia which can be associated with portal hypertension and complications of ascites, variceal hemorrhage and hepatic encephalopathy.  There is likely to be cross sensitivity to liver toxicities of the various platinum coordination complexes and continued use or rechallenge after clinically apparent liver injury from oxaliplatin should be avoided.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.