Dactinomycin is included in the cancer-fighting group of drugs, known as antibiotics, that fight cancer cells in a patient’s body. It is a treatment used for some types of cancers like testicular and sarcomas.
This type of drug is normally recommended for children, although adults may use this, too. It particularly impacts on cancers of the soft tissues and bones (specifically the tendons and muscles), cancer of the testicles and tumors in the womb. It is purchased under the brand names of Act-D, Actinomycin D and Cosmegen.
Dactinomycin is usually infused into a patient’s vein for more than 15 minutes. Doctors usually issue medicines before the administration of the drug so that vomiting and nausea would be prevented when the drug starts kicking in.
Blood count, the size of the cancer and the type of cancer being treated make up the foundations for a patient’s required Dactinomycin dosage. Administration of the drug is discontinued (or delayed) if lab results point to some sort of problems.
Normally, Dactinomycin is used alongside other Chemotherapy drugs.
Weeks after the drug’s administration, a patient may find himself or herself more susceptible to infections. That is because white blood cell count decreases. So, when a patient starts noticing symptoms of infections like chills, coughs, high fever and painful urination, the doctor must be immediately notified.
Platelet count can be affected too. It might decrease and patients may become subjected to a lot of unnecessary bleeding. Patients should relay news of tarry stools, bleeding gums and nosebleeds to the doctor.
Red blood cell count may lower, resulting to anemia. So, difficulty in breathing and exhaustion may set in. Again, a trip to the doctor’s office is necessary if unpleasant effects start manifesting. That may mean that a patient needs blood transfusion, see.
Getting vaccinated is also not recommended. Dactinomycin can put the patient’s body up for easier infection, and vaccines may not work properly. If worse comes to worst, too, more complications may even arise.
Nausea is very common, too, with patients on Dactinomycin. So, anti-nausea drugs are usually prescribed by doctors to lessen the risks of vomiting and nausea.
Hair loss may temporarily happen, as well. It does not last for long, though, and hair usually grows back when the treatment period is over.
Pre-existing medical conditions like heart diseases, kidney problems, liver disorders, heart failure, diabetes, gout and other infections need to be relayed to the doctor because those conditions may alter the effectiveness and effects of Dactinomycin on the patient.
Patients who have had radtion are normally administered lowered dosages of the drug.
Lastly, fertility may be affected by Dactinomycin. So, an expecting mother is not recommended to ingest the drug since it may lead to birth defects on the baby.
- Dactinomycin is available in 0.5 mg injections
- Its molecular formula is C62H86N12O16
- It has a molecular weight of 1255.42 g/mol
Brand name: Cosmegen
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