Leukemia Home > Cytoxan

Cytoxan is a chemotherapy medication used for treating nephrotic syndrome in children and various types of cancer in adults. Leukemia, breast cancer, and multiple myeloma are among the types of cancer that the medication may be used to treat. Cytoxan, which is available by prescription, comes as an injection and in tablet form. Side effects can include loss of appetite, hair loss, mouth sores, and diarrhea.

What Is Cytoxan?

Cytoxan® (cyclophosphamide) is a prescription chemotherapy medication that is used to treat different types of cancer. It is also approved to treat certain kidney problems in children. Specifically, the drug is approved to treat the following cancers:
 
Cytoxan is approved to treat "minimal change" nephrotic syndrome in children (a kidney disorder) when other treatments have failed.
 
(Click Cytoxan Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)
 

Who Makes It?

Cytoxan is made by Bristol-Myers Squibb.
 

How Does Cytoxan Work?

Cytoxan is part of a group of medications called alkylating agents. The medication itself is not active against cancer, but it is metabolized by the liver into its active form. The active form causes "cross-linking" of DNA cells. When DNA is cross-linked, it can no longer function properly. Since DNA is essential for cells to grow and multiply, alkylating medications prevent cell growth and multiplication, and may cause cell death.
 
While Cytoxan can kill both healthy and cancerous cells, it has a greater effect on cells that are multiplying rapidly. Generally, cancer cells multiply more rapidly than healthy cells and are, therefore, more affected by the drug.
 
Cytoxan also suppresses the immune system, which is probably how it works to treat nephrotic syndrome.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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