R-Chop Chemotherapy for Non Hodgkin Lymphoma
R-CHOP chemotherapy for non Hodgkin lymphoma involves a blend of three to four different medicines commonly labeled as CHOP. R in R-CHOP signifies the use of drug called Rituximab. Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody that binds to the protein CD20 present on the cellular surface of B Cell Lymphocytes. Non Hodgkin Lymphoma is characterized by abnormal cancerous growth in B Cell Lymphocytes. This drug thus destroys the carcinogenic plus normal lymphocytes which invariably results in low WBC or white blood cell count.
R-CHOP is a mixture of five different drugs namely:
3. Hydroxydaunorubicin / Doxorubicin
4. Oncovin / Vincristine
Rituximab as mentioned earlier, is a monoclonal antibody, the next three are chemotherapeutic drugs and prednisolone is a steroid.
Administration and R-CHOP Chemotherapy Schedule
R-Chop treatment is administered in 6 to 8 Cycles with a rest period of either 21 or 14 days. Doctors often refer to R-CHOP chemotherapy schedule as R-CHOP chemotherapy regimen as the drug is given with a predesigned plan.
On the very first day of the treatment a patient receives Rituximab, Doxorubicin, Vincristine and cyclophosphamide in the sequence as given. On the same day one could be given a five day course of prednisolone tablets. Once the drugs are introduced, the patient is set for a rest period of either 21 or 14 days and this completes the first cycle of dosage. After the rest period the next dose is provided and this starts the second cycle of R-CHOP.
Before the commencement of the treatment, the doctor could perhaps take a blood test of the patient. Once the blood is examined the doctor subsequently proceeds with the cancer treatment.
The first dose of R-CHOP treatment is given by infusion along the PICC Line in the patient’s arm, this could be little painful or could result in a few allergic reactions. However, the second dose is easier to administer and takes less time as any allergic reactions if any are recognized and given proper medications to ensure that the patient does not experience the same discomfort next time.
R-CHOP Chemotherapy Treatment and Side Effects:
Exposure to R-CHOP chemotherapy for non Hodgkin lymphoma can show some side effects. Some of the possible side effects involve the following:
1. The patient could possibly feel symptoms similar to flu resembling high body temperature, chills, weakness and dizziness while the drug is given but it does not last for long
2. A regular monitoring of blood pressure becomes critical during R-CHOP treatment as it reduces the blood pressure
3. It is not unusual for patients to experience allergic reactions to Rituximab such as skin rashes , irritation in the nasal passage, frequent coughing and breathlessness
4. Neutropenia: Neutropenia refers to a a drop in the WBC count that makes a person more prone to infections
Although the side effects of R-CHOP chemotherapy for non Hodgkin lymphoma are not evident after the treatment, one must immediately consult the doctor in case of:
• Excessive bruising or bleeding
• Nausea or vomiting
• Hair loss
• Irritation in the stomach as prednisolone damages the inner wall of stomach thus causing irritation by stomach acid
• Changes in the blood sugar level
Prednisolone is a steroid, some important things to be kept in mind while consuming these tablets are:
• It is important to take tablets at the right time as directed by the doctor
• Store these tablets at room temperature in the original packaging
• It must be kept out of children’s reach
• If you skip a dose, do not compensate it by taking a double dose