Amifostine Injection : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More

Why is this medication prescribed?

Amifostine is used to protect the kidneys from the harmful effects of the chemotherapy drug cisplatin in patients receiving this drug for the treatment of ovarian cancer. Amifostine is also used to decrease dry mouth caused by radiation therapy after surgery for head and neck cancer. Amifostine is in a class of medications called cytoprotectors. It works by protecting against the harmful effects of chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy.

How should this medicine be used?

Amifostine comes as a powder that is mixed with liquid for a doctor or nurse to inject intravenously (into a vein) at a medical facility. When amifostine is used to protect the kidneys against the damaging effects of cisplatin, it is usually given over 15 minutes starting 30 minutes before you receive your chemotherapy treatment. When amifostine is used to reduce severe dry mouth caused by radiation treatment, it is usually given over 3 minutes, starting 15 to 30 minutes before your radiation treatment.

Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.

Other uses for this medicine

Amifostine is also sometimes used to prevent and lessen the side effects associated with certain chemotherapy or radiation therapy drugs and in the treatment of some types of blood cell diseases.

This medicine may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before receiving amifostine,

  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to amifostine, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in amifostine injection. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention medications for high blood pressure. Your doctor will tell you to stop taking your blood pressure medicine 24 hours before you receive amifostine injection. Many other medications can also interact with amifostine, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had heart disease, irregular heartbeat, heart failure, or a stroke or mini-stroke.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while receiving amifostine, call your doctor. You should not breastfeed during your treatment with amifostine.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Amifostine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • flushing or feeling of warmth
  • chills or feeling of coldness
  • general feeling of tiredness
  • fever
  • drowsiness
  • sneezing
  • hiccups

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms , call your doctor immediately:

  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness
  • blurred vision
  • fainting
  • seizures
  • chest tightness
  • chest pain
  • rash
  • hives
  • itching
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • peeling or blistering skin
  • fast, slow, or pounding heartbeat

Amifostine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medicine.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor can submit a report online to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program ( or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at If the victim collapsed, had a seizure, is having trouble breathing, or is unable to wake up, immediately call 911 for emergency services.

Symptoms of overdose may include the following:

  • dizziness
  • lightheadedness
  • fainting

What other information should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain laboratory tests to check your body’s response to amifostine.

It is important that you keep a written list of all prescription and over-the-counter (over-the-counter) medications you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should take this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you go into hospital. It is also important information to take with you in case of emergencies.

Brand Names

  • Ethyol®

Other Names

  • Ethiofos

Disclaimer: We have made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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