Managing the Side Effects of Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) and MDS Treatment
by Ricker Polsdorfer, MD
Here are the basics about each of the medicines below. Only the most common reactions are listed. Ask your doctor if you need to take any special steps. Use each of these drugs as advised by your doctor or the booklet they came with. If you have any questions, call your doctor.
Medicine may help ease or prevent side effects of treatment, or to control certain side effects once they happen. These effects can happen from MDS or its treatment:
MDS that reduces white blood cell counts cause immune system problems. This increases the risk of infections. Most infections affect the lungs or skin.
Possible problems are:
Blood Stem Cell Support Drugs
These drugs help the bone marrow make new blood cells. White blood cells will lower the risk of infection. Red blood cells lower the risk of anemia. Platelets lower the risk of bleeding. These medicines are used with chemotherapy.
Some problems with filgrastim are:
Some problems with epoetin are:
Some problems with oprelvekin are:
MDS depletes the numbers of red and white blood cells and platelets. Blood transfusions are a way to replace cells and healthy blood cell counts. Blood is given through an IV. The blood comes from a donor. Donated blood must match your blood type. The donor and recipient blood is tested for type. But you will be watched during the transfusion for any reactions.
Blood transfusions do not offer a cure, but they do help ease symptoms. It is common to need more than 1 transfusion.
Some problems are:
Capecitabine and azacytidine work on genes to slow cell growth and kill cancer cells. They are used to treat certain types of MDS and acute myeloid leukemia. These drugs are given through an IV in cycles.
Some problems are:
Immunotherapy is used to modify, enhance, or suppress the immune system. Thalidomide and lenalidomide are used to treat people with a certain type of MDS. These drugs increase red blood cell counts and help with bone marrow function. Thalidomide and lenalidomide are taken by mouth.
Some problems are:
Antithymocyte globulin (ATG) and cyclosporine have been useful in treating some people with MDS, especially ones who are younger. The drugs suppress how the body reacts to certain white blood cells.
Some problems with ATG are:
Some problems with cyclosporine are:
General Information about Medicine
When taking any medicine:
Azacitidine. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/drug-monograph/azacitidine. Accessed October 3, 2020.
Decitabine. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/drug-monograph/decitabine. Accessed October 3, 2020.
Myelodysplastic syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/myelodysplastic-syndrome-mds. Accessed October 3, 2020.
Treating myelodysplastic syndromes. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/myelodysplastic-syndrome/treating.html. Accessed October 3, 2020.
Treatment option overview. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/myeloproliferative/patient/myelodysplastic-treatment-pdq#section/_49. Accessed October 3, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 12/15/2020
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