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Trabectedin is a type of chemotherapy medicine for cancer known as an anti-neoplastic. This drug is a naturally occurring compound that is derived from a marine organism Ecteinascidia turbinate. Trabectedin is used for the treatment of soft tissue sarcoma. This product is supplied as a sterile lyophilized white to off-white powder for injection. Each single-dose vial has 1 mg of Trabectedin.
What is soft tissue sarcoma?
Soft tissue sarcoma is a rare type of cancer. It begins in the tissues that connect, support, and surround other body structures. There are more than 50 subtypes of soft tissue sarcoma that exist. Some of them are more likely to effects the children and mostly in adults as well. This condition can happen anywhere in your body. But, the most common types are in the legs, arms, and abdomen. A soft tissue sarcoma may not cause any signs and symptoms in its early stages. As the tumor grows, it may cause:
- Pain if a tumor presses on nerves or muscles
- A noticeable lump or swelling
Seek for medical help right away of these occur:
- Recurrence of a lump that’s been removed
- A lump of any size that’s located deep within a muscle
- A lump that is increasing in size or becomes painful
This type of cancer occurs when cells develop errors in their DNA. The errors make cells grow and divide out of control. The accumulating abnormal cells form a tumor that can grow to invade nearby structures. The abnormal cells can spread to other parts of the body. The type of cell that develops the genetic mutation determines what type of soft tissue sarcoma you have.
The following may increase your risk of sarcoma:
- Inherited syndromes
A risk of soft tissue sarcoma can be inherited from your parents.
2. Chemical exposure
Being exposed to certain chemicals may increase the risk of soft tissue sarcomas.
3. Radiation exposure
Previous radiation treatment for other cancers can increase the risk of soft tissue sarcomas.
How does Trabectedin work?
Cancers form when cells within the body increase uncontrollably and abnormally. These cells spread and destroy the nearby tissues. Trabectedin works by stopping the cancer cells from growing. It does this by binding to and damaging the DNA in the cancer cells. This stops the cells from growing.
In most chemotherapy regimens, doses are administered in courses at several intervals. It is to allow normal cells to recover from the adverse effects of the anticancer medicines between doses. On the other hand, during this period, cancer cells will also recover and start to replicate again. Successful treatment depends on the administration of the next course of therapy before the cancer has regrown to its previous size. The net effect is to lessen the amount of cancer with each successive course.
Trabectedin can also affect normal and healthy cells. Particularly, those that multiply quickly are healthy blood cells. This medication is therefore only used to treat soft tissue sarcoma in people who have enough healthy cells in their blood at the start of treatment. Regular blood tests are needed to monitor the levels of blood cells.
How to use Trabectedin?
Trabectedin is given by slow infusion into a vein over 24 hours. This is usually given every 3 weeks. Dexamethasone is given before treatment with Trabectedin to help reduce sickness and protect the liver. The treatment is repeated every three weeks, for as many courses as your specialist feels is essential. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response.
Your doctor may reduce your dose or delay it if you have certain side effects. If you have any severe side effects, your doctor may stop your treatment with this medicine. Before each treatment with Trabectedin, you will receive a steroid medicine to help lessen your risk of getting certain side effects. Your doctor will let you know how long your treatment will take especially with this prescription. Your doctor will also do certain tests while you are having this treatment. It is to check for side effects and to see how you respond to the treatment.
What are the side effects of Trabectedin?
Common side effects:
- Decrease appetite
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of the hands and feet
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Low platelet count
- Low white blood cell count
- Increased ALT and AST
- Changes in kidney and liver function blood tests
If these side effects continue or get worse, call your doctor at once. Also, if other side effects occur, inform your doctor.
- You will not be given this drug if you have a severe allergic reaction to it. If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using the medicine, and inform your doctor right away.
- Before having this treatment, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions such as liver or kidney problems.
- If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, let your doctor know before having this drug. This may harm your unborn baby. You should also not become pregnant while having Trabectedin.
- You should not drink alcohol while having this medicine. It may be the reason that your risk of side effects on the liver will increase.
- Men being treated with this drug must use a condom to avoid fathering a child during their treatment and for at least 5 months after treatment. There are risks of irreversible infertility associated with Trabectedin. For this reason, men should discuss the possibility of sperm conversation with their doctor before starting treatment.
- Trabectedin is not recommended for use in people with severe or uncontrolled infection, high levels of bilirubin, low numbers of white blood cells, and raised liver enzymes or creatinine phosphokinase levels.
- This is also should not be used by children or adolescents.
- Trabectedin can make you feel weak or tired. Do not use machinery, drive, or do activities that need your alertness until you can do it safely.
- Do not have vaccinations or immunizations while having Trabectedin without the consent of your doctor.