Carboplatin, a drug frequently used for the treatment of lung, head, neck and ovarian cancers, has also now been shown to be effective in the treatment of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that usually occurs in people who have been exposed to asbestos. Carboplatin is preferred over other treatment options by many doctors because its side effects are usually less severe.

Administering the Drug

Patients typically receive treatment with Carboplatin on an outpatient basis at a hospital or cancer treatment center. It is administered intravenously, usually once every twenty-eight days. Occasionally, more frequent chemotherapy will be required. In this case, patients will need to stay two or more days in the hospital or cancer treatment center in order for the drug to be properly administered. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not use this drug, because like many chemotherapeutic drugs, it can be harmful to unborn babies.

Carboplatin was introduced in the late 1980s, and is actually a modified version of another chemotherapeutic drug, Cisplatin. The side-effects of Carboplatin, however, are much less serious than those of Cisplatin. It works by preventing cancerous cells from dividing and carrying on their typical functions, which eventually ends in the death of those cells. Carboplatin is prone to attack only cancerous cells, because cancerous cells divide so much more rapidly than typical cells.

Side Effects

Even though Carboplatin is usually preferable to other chemotherapeutic drugs for the treatment of mesothelioma, it is not without its side effects. Patients who are treated with this drug may experience fatigue, impaired vision or hearing, hair loss, constipation, stomach pain, reduced immune system function, and nausea. Some of these side effects can be mitigated through the use of other drugs that an oncologist can prescribe.

Some patients may experience more serious side effects, such as shortness of breath, foot or ankle swelling, red urine, dizziness, chills, fever or rash. Patients who experience one or more of these symptoms should immediately alert their physician.

Another possible side effect of Carboplatin that is potentially serious is kidney damage. If the patient notices blood in his or her urine or experiences pain while urinating, then this is likely the result of kidney damage. Because of Carboplatin’s potential to cause kidney damage, patients with any sort of kidney disease should not use Carboplatin for their treatment.