Protecting the saliva glands

I find myself quite tired these past couple of days. Hard living over the weekend? Weather changes? Post Labour Day blues? Not really sure what it is…

I promised someone (do you think I can remember who?) over the weekend that I would look up the name of the drug that has the potential to reduce radiation damage to saliva glands. It was something that I was NOT offered… and boy, does that piss me off. It is possible that it hasn’t been approved for use in Canada, yet. But it has been in use in the USA for some time now… a bit annoying, really.

Amiphostine is the name of the drug. Anecdotal discussion says that it is injected before each radiation treatment and that it can get expensive. Hopefully who ever I was talking to/about has a good drug plan. Also sold under the brand names Ethyol® , Ethiofos , Gammaphos, WR-2721

From the MedlinePlus website:

“This medication is used to:
protect the kidneys against the harmful effects of the cancer-fighting drug cisplatin in patients with ovarian cancer or lung cancer
reduce the severe dry mouth caused by radiation treatment after surgery for head and neck cancer
Amifostine is in a class of drugs known as chemoprotectants; it protects against the harmful effects of cisplatin and radiation treatment. The length of treatment depends on the types of drugs you are taking, how well your body responds to them, and the type of cancer you have. “

I’ve been reading stuff from 2005 that says that the drug can be effective… its not a guarantee. Its interesting that it hasn’t become part of the treatment protocol at the Cross Cancer Institute. There are side effects, almost as bad as the chemo… and maybe that’s why?

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