Dacarbazine

Dacarbazine belongs to a group of cytotoxics known as alkylating agents. Cytotoxics are substances which results in cell damage or cell death. Alkylating agents are drugs that damage the DNA of cancer cells to keep them from making more copies of themselves.

It interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

On this page:

Indications

  • Hodgkin lymphoma-early stage
  • Hodgkin lymphoma- advanced stage

Cost of Dacarbazine

Dacarbazine is a publicly funded medication. It is TGA approved but not PBS reimbursed. As such, when having treatment in a public hospital, you should not have to pay anything for Dacarbazine. 

Unfortunately this is a bit different in private hospitals and clinics that are not publicly funded. Some private health funds will cover the cost, or at least some of the cost of Dacarbazine, but others will not. You will need to check with your own health fund if this medication is covered under the policy you have with them.

If it is not covered, and you choose to have treatment in a private facility, you will need to to pay for Dacarbazine each cycle. This can cost around $800 each cycle.

Administration

The amount of dacarbazine depends on many factors including:

  • Height and weight
  • General health or other health problems
  • Type of lymphoma being treated

 

Patients are given dacarbazine in the chemotherapy day unit or during a stay in hospital. Dacarbazine can be given in combination with other cancer drugs.

It is given via Intravenous infusion over 60 minutes. Too rapid an infusion of dacarbazine can lead to pain at the infusion site. A heat pack on the cannulated arm during and after administration can assist with the discomfort.

Common side effects

  • Increased risk of infection
  • Low platelets (thrombocytopenia)
  • Anaemia (low red cell count)
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Hair loss
  • Mild skin rash
  • Numbness, warmth, redness, or tingly feeling in your face.

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