Chemotherapy-Related Emergencies

  • Jeong Hoon OhEmail author
Part of the MD Anderson Cancer Care Series book series (MDCCS)


Chemotherapy and other cytotoxic therapies, such as monoclonal antibody-based and targeted therapies, have played a significant role in the survival of cancer patients. Despite its usefulness, chemotherapy may lead to significant adverse events owing to side effects and to hypersensitivity and infusion-related reactions. Monitoring protocols and education of both health care professionals and patients about potential side effects and adverse reactions are key to early recognition and management of these events. Premedication regimens should be considered for use with chemotherapeutic and cytotoxic agents with a high likelihood of causing hypersensitivity reactions. Desensitization protocols also may be required, and medications needed for treatment of these reactions should be made readily available. Another potential source of morbidity during treatment is the fact that many cytotoxic agents are vesicants or vascular irritants. Symptoms of vascular irritation can appear immediately but are not permanent, whereas vesication can cause necrosis and permanent local injury, and use of antidotes may be necessary. Creation and use of institutional guidelines, order sets, and policies can be very helpful in preventing extravasation and optimizing outcomes in patients who receive chemotherapy or other cytotoxic therapies.


Chemotherapy Hypersensitivity Allergic reaction Side effects Extravasation 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinic for Lasting Effects of Cancer Treatment, Department of General Internal Medicine, Unit 1465The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

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