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What is cisplatin?

Cisplatin (also called Platinol®) is an anticancer medicine. Cisplatin is a clear liquid given into a vein (IV).

Cisplatin can pose a health hazard to caregivers. All caregivers should take safety precautions while giving this drug. For 48 hours after this drug is given, the patient’s body fluids can contain the drug. During that 48-hour period, caregivers should follow safety guidelines when handling the patient’s vomit, blood, urine, and bowel movements, including diapers. These guidelines include wearing gloves when cleaning up body fluids. For a complete list of safety precautions, see “Do you know… Protecting caregivers from drug hazards.”

Possible side effects of cisplatin


  • Irritated tissue and skin damage at the IV site
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Later (more than a day after treatment starts)

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Low blood counts, usually after 14 to 21 days
  • Decreased kidney function
  • Hearing loss
  • Low level of magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium, or phosphorus in the blood
  • Hands or feet feel numb or tingle

These are the most common side effects, but there may be others. Please report all side effects to the doctor or nurse.

In case of a severe side effect or reaction, call the doctor, nurse or pharmacist at 595-3300. If you are outside the Memphis area, dial toll-free 1-866-2STJUDE (1-866-278-5833), and press 0 once the call is connected.

Special instructions for cisplatin

  • Cisplatin can cause nausea and vomiting. Sometimes the nausea and vomiting can be severe and can last for several days after you receive cisplatin. The doctor will prescribe medicine to keep you from feeling sick and throwing up after you receive cisplatin.
  • Tell the nurse right away if you have pain or redness at the IV site.
  • It may be easier for you to get infections while you are receiving cisplatin. Stay away from crowds and people with colds, flu, or other infections. (See “Do you know… How to prevent infection.”)
  • You will receive hearing tests while you are receiving cisplatin. Tell the doctor right away if you notice a change in your hearing.
  • Blood will be drawn regularly to check the following:
    • kidney function
    • liver function
    • blood counts
    • blood levels of magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium, and phosphorus
  • You will receive IV fluids before and after you receive cisplatin.
  • Tell the doctor if your urine output decreases after you receive cisplatin.
  • The doctor may prescribe magnesium, potassium, calcium, or phosphorus to take by mouth, while you receive cisplatin. If you are receiving IV fluid, the supplements may be added to your IV fluid.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).