CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.
Alkylating agents are known to cause a dose-dependent destruction of certain cells of the immune system. In the treatment of autoimmune diseases, this is occasionally an advantage (such as with cyclophosphamide), but in cancer treatment it can cause severe immunosuppression. This state makes cancer patients treated with these drugs particularly susceptible to certain infections, including infections by microorganisms that do not often infect people with a normal immune system (. fungi). Another common side-effect related to cellular destruction affects rapidly dividing cells, such as mucosal cells. This becomes clinically apparent in damage done to the oral mucosa and to the lining of the gastrointestinal tract—bleeding gums and copius, sometimes bloody diarrhea can occur. Poor absorption of nutrients across the GI tract can take place as well.