A 28-year-old woman has completed rituximab therapy for an autoimmune disease. She tells the nurse that she and her husband would like to start a family. The nurse will advise her to
Rituximab is not recommended for use in pregnancy or when women are lactating. The patient should consequently be advised to continue using birth control for the duration of treatment.
A nurse on an oncology unit is aware of the need to assess for adverse effects in patients who are being treated with rituximab. The risks of adverse effects are highest at what point during the course of treatment?
Infusion-related effects reportedly occur in 80% of patients within 30 minutes to 2 hours after beginning the first rituximab infusion. These exceed the incidence of adverse effects at other points in the course of treatment.
A patient will soon begin targeted therapy as a component of her treatment plan for chronic leukemia. The nurse is conducting health education about this new aspect of the patient’s drug regimen and the patient has asked about the potential side effects of treatment. How should the nurse best respond?
Targeted therapies are generally considered to be less toxic than traditional chemotherapy drugs. However, adverse reactions to targeted therapies can occur such as severe skin reactions, GI toxicities, skin reactions, and thrombosis.
A female patient is taking filgrastim (Neupogen) to decrease the incidence of infection. The nurse notices a small increase in the neutrophil count 2 days after starting therapy. The nurse’s evaluation of the increase is that
A small increase in the neutrophil count 1 or 2 days after starting therapy indicates only a transient increase and does not indicate the full therapeutic effects of the drug. It indicates neither slow action nor ineffectiveness of the drug.
A male patient has been on long-term bicalutamide (Casodex) therapy. In order to assess adverse effects of the drug therapy, the nurse will closely monitor which of the following?
It is important for the nurse to monitor the patient’s liver function closely if the patient is on prolonged therapy with an antiandrogenic agent. Adverse effects of the therapy include gynecomastia, diarrhea, hot flashes, breast pain, impotence, loss of libido, and abnormal liver functions. Monitoring of blood counts, an annual pap smear, and regular visual function tests are advised for patients undergoing tamoxifen therapy.
Mr. Lepp is a 63-year-old man who was diagnosed with colon cancer several weeks ago and who is scheduled to begin chemotherapy. He reports to the nurse that he read about the need for erythropoietin in an online forum for cancer patients and wants to explore the use of epoetin alfa with his oncologist. Which of the following facts should underlie the nurse’s response to Mr. Lepp?
In patients with cancer, epoetin alfa should only be used when anemia is due to concomitant myelosuppressive chemotherapy and should be discontinued when the chemotherapy course is completed. The use of epoetin alfa during cancer may shorten survival and/or increase the risk of tumor progression or recurrence. Patients with cancer are also at risk for serious cardiovascular and thrombovascular events. Consequently, the benefits of treatment must be considered in light of these potentially adverse effects.
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