Antibodies are produced by the body to defend it against bacteria and viruses. There are some conditions that cause specific antibodies to be produced that affect the way your kidneys work.
Cyclophosphamide is an immunosuppressant drug. It suppresses your immune system, stopping your white blood cells from making these antibodies and preventing further damage to your kidneys.
You will need to attend the hospital once a month for 6 months. A needle will be inserted into a vein in your arm and the cyclophosphamide given through the needle. Each visit will last 1½- 2 hours. You will also need to attend once between each treatment for a blood test to check your white cell count. During treatment, if you experience any pain or burning sensation at the needle site please inform the staff.
Cyclophosphamide may cause nausea and vomiting. You will be given an injection to help prevent this before your treatment and some anti-sickness tablets to take home. The nausea and vomiting may last a day or two. Due to the affect of the cyclophosphamide lowering your white cell count which normally helps to protect you from infection, you will have an increased risk of picking up infections. Tell your doctor if you get a fever, sore throat, skin rash or mouth ulcers.
If you have had an infection since your last visit please inform the staff when you arrive for your treatment even if you have been treated for it by your GP.
Cyclophosphamide can sometimes cause irritation to your bladder. To help prevent this you will have a small infusion of a drug called mesna before the cyclophosphamide and two mesna tablets to take later that day. If you notice any blood in your urine or your urine appears darker than usual, inform your doctor.
Cyclophosphamide may cause hair loss but this is reversible when treatment is completed.
Cyclophosphamide can sometimes affect your blood clotting and cause anaemia. Tell your doctor if you get any unexplained bleeding or bruising.
Cyclophosphamide carries with it a very small increased risk that you may develop cancer. It may also cause infertility. In women, fertility may return to normal within 3 months to 1 year or you may continue to have reduced fertility. Male sterility can be permanent. Contraception is still advisable for patients and their partners during treatment as pregnancy may result in damage to the foetus.