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amifostine injections

Posts: 1
Joined: May 2007

i am starting radiation in 1 week and would like some feed back from people who have used amifostine to help with slaivary glands

Posts: 10
Joined: Apr 2007

Hi there. I know a little bit about Ethyol, or amifostine. It was considered for my dad before he started his radiation therapy, but the physicians decided against it. Here's what I know about it. It used to be given IV and made a lot of people very sick; for that reason, many oncologists were turned off by it. However, it's my understanding that it's now given as an injection 30 or so minutes before you go for radiation. I hear the side effects (e.g., nausea and vomiting) are nowhere near as significant as they used to be with the drug being given as a shot. I also hear it is totally crucial that you drink a LOT of water if you receive this drug. I hope that helps. Best of luck to you in your treatment.

Posts: 10
Joined: Apr 2007

P.S. I solicited this group's input on this very topic on 4-12-07. If you scroll back through this Discussion Board, you should find their helpful replies.

Posts: 8
Joined: Jun 2007

How is the radiation going? I am well into my radiation treatments and I am getting ethyol injections each day, 15 min. prior to my radiation. I am on a 33 radiation and weekly Erbitux chemo for 'base of tongue' cancer. As of today, I have 13 more "burns" and 2 more bottles of chemo left. I am receiving the Ethyol with sub-Q injections to my tricep area. Both arms are red and feel bruised and tender. I am also taking Kytrol for nausea from the injections and hour before each injection. So far it has helped. I know the Amifostine/Ethyol is supposed to help with the salivary glands, as well as enhance the radiation, but my mouth couldn't get much more screwed up. Dry mouth has been with my since the start. What is the nature of your cancer and location of the radiation burns? Mine is base of tongue and back of throat and both sides of my neck in the lymph node region. I haven't taken anything by mouth for over 2 weeks now, and thank God I put a feeding tube in at the same time I had the port installed for the chemo. Good luck with the injections and the radiation.

Posts: 15
Joined: Jul 2005

I had tonsil cancer diagnosed 9/04. Treatment: 11/04 radical neck disection and panendoscopy through which they found tonsil as origin. Then 39 radiation treatments with synergistic cysplatin chemotherapy. Each radiation day I would go get an IV of amifostine through my Mediport about 30-45 mins before radiation. First they would give me an anti-nausea IV, and then the amifostine. After about 4 or 5 wks, due to nausea, I decided to stop the amifostine. My radiation oncologist and medical oncologist agreed that I had probably benefited from taking it as long as I did. While I do not know how it actually works, it is supposed to protect your salivary glands from the radiation burn.
My salivary level was definitely effected, but now after 2 1/2 years (still NED!) my spit level is not really too much of a problem except at night.
If you do start to get sore, dry mouth, I would highly recommend Biotene OralBalance gel. It was not available to me, or I did not know about it during my actual radiation treatment, but I wish I had known about it then. Instead, I was spraying my mouth and throat with a combination of Vitamin-E oil and olive oil. It kind of worked, but not as good as the Biotene.
Good luck on your treatment and your recovery.

Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2004

I was the last patient in a clinical trial of the toxicity of amifostine that wrapped up 3 1/2 years ago. I was given 2 amifostine injections daily in the triceps or thighs (alternating) 30 minutes before radiation treatments for cancer of the base of the tongue. I experienced severe nausea for hours every day, but I don't neccessarily attribute that to the amifostine, as I was also receiving chemo at the same time to boost the effects of the radiation. I lost the ability to eat or drink due to the severe burns from the radiation. The peg saved me there. I lost all of my sense of taste and all of my saliva function. Like I read about someone else, I became obsessed with cooking shows on the food network. After a year I had regained most of my taste, although things taste different now. The really important thing is that over the last 3 years I got back most of my saliva function. During the treatments I had severe loss of blood pressure and a couple of really bad fevers, but I continued with the amifostine and consider it all worth it now. I still have healthy teeth and I can eat normal food and swallow it normally. I think everyone should get the opportunity to have amifostine.

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