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What is ifosfamide?

Ifosfamide (also called Ifos or Ifex®) is an anticancer medicine. It is a clear liquid given by vein (IV).

Ifosfamide 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 ifosfamide


  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Feeling drowsy or confused
  • Hallucinations (seeing things that are not there) or seizures

Later (usually more than a day after treatment starts)

  • Low blood counts 7 to 14 days after treatment (with higher risk of infection, bleeding, anemia, and tired feeling)
  • Bladder damage that can cause blood in the urine and burning while urinating
  • Mouth sores
  • Hair loss
  • Temporary changes in liver function
  • Kidney damage
  • Feeling sleepy or weak
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Decrease in blood levels of potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, or sodium

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 ifosfamide

  • To flush your bladder and kidneys, you should drink lots of fluid while you are receiving ifosfamide and for several days after you receive ifosfamide. Your doctor or nurse will tell you how much you should drink each day. You will also receive IV fluids before and after you receive ifosfamide.
  • You will receive a medicine that helps prevent bladder damage while you are receiving ifosfamide. This medicine is called mesna. You will receive 2 to 4 doses of this medicine before and after you receive ifosfamide.
  • To check for blood in the urine, urine samples will be taken before each dose of ifosfamide. You will not receive ifosfamide until the results of the urine tests are known, and the staff is sure that your urine is free of blood. After you receive ifosfamide, report any blood in your urine to your nurse or doctor right away.
  • The staff will draw blood samples to check your kidney function, blood counts, and blood levels of potassium, magnesium, sodium, and phosphorous. You may need to take potassium, magnesium, or phosphorous by mouth (or IV) to correct the levels in your blood.
  • You may taste this medicine while it is being given to you. Gum, soft drinks, or candy can help hide the taste of the medicine.
  • You should urinate often while you are receiving ifosfamide. If you have problems urinating, tell your nurse or doctor right away. You may need more IV fluids.


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).