You are using an outdated browser. We suggest you update your browser for a better experience. Click here for update.
Close this notification.
Skip to main content Skip to search

ifosfamide

( eye-FOSS-fam-eyed )
Other Name(s): Ifex® (multiple brands available)
Appearance: Clear solution mixed into larger bags of fluids

Medication Information Sheet
ifosfamide (eye-FOSS-fam-eyed)
This document provides general information about your medication. It does not replace the advice of your health care professional. Always discuss your therapy with your health care professional and refer to the package insert for more details.

Other Name: Ifex®

Appearance:
Clear solution mixed into larger bags of fluids

What is this medication for?
  • For treating sarcomas, testicular cancer lymphoma or other types of cancers.
What should I do before I have this medication?
  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you have/had significant medical condition(s), especially if you have / had liver or kidney disease, heart or lung problems, strokes, mini-strokes or 'transient ischemic attacks', radiation treatment, recent surgery or have any allergies.
  • Ifosfamide may harm the unborn baby.
  • Let your doctor know if you are breastfeeding, pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
  • People who have cancer or leukemia are at a higher risk of developing other cancers/leukemias (usually some years later) or blood clots. Some cancer medications, such as ifosfamide, may increase these risks, especially if used  for a prolonged period of time. You should discuss any concerns about this drug with your doctor.
How will this medication affect sex, pregnancy and breastfeeding?
  • Do not use this drug if you are pregnant. If there is ANY chance that you or your partner may become pregnant, you and your partner together must:►Use 2 effective forms of birth control at the same time while taking this drug: Keep using birth control until 12 months after the last dose (general recommendation). Discuss with your healthcare team.
  • Tell your doctor right away if you or your partner becomes pregnant.
  • Do not breastfeed while taking this drug.
  • Effects on Fertility: Probable
  • Effects on Fertility: Probable
How is this medication given?
  • This drug is given by injection into a vein.

  • You will be given another drug, mesna, to prevent serious bladder problems – it is very important that you take mesna as prescribed. If you cannot take doses you have been given by mouth, you must contact your doctor immediately.
  • It is also important to drink extra fluids to help prevent kidney and bladder problems. Discuss with your doctor.
What else do I need to know while on this medication?
  • Do not eat or drink grapefruit, starfruit, Seville oranges or their juices (or products that contain these) while on this treatment. They may increase side effects.

  • This medication can interact with other medications and can result in the treatment not working as well or cause severe side effects.

  • Make sure your health care team knows about all your medications (prescription, over-the-counter, herbals and supplements). Check with your health care team before starting or stopping any of them.

  • For mild aches and pain:

    • You may take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) tablets. Ask your health care team about the right dose for you. 
    • Ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®), naproxen (Aleve®) or aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid, ASA), including low dose aspirin for heart conditions, may increase your chance of bleeding.
    • Talk to your health care team before you start or stop these medications.
    • If you feel unwell, take your temperature before taking any of these medications. They may hide a fever. 
    • Talk to your health care team or go to the closest emergency room right away if you have a fever.  See the Fever pamphlet for more information.
What are the side effects of this medication?

The following side effects are common or severe. You may not have all of the side effects, while others may occur. Discuss with your doctor if you have any unusual or bothersome symptoms.
 

 

 

 

Side effects and what to do When to contact doctor?
More Common Side Effects

Hair thinning or loss 

  • Use a gentle soft brush; care should be taken with hair sprays, bleaches, dyes and perms.
  • Your hair usually grows back after your treatment ends, but the texture or colour may change.

Nausea and vomiting

  • May occur in hours to days after the dose is given/ after treatment starts.
  • Drink clear fluids and avoid large meals. Get fresh air and rest.
  • Limit spicy, fried foods or foods with a strong smell.
  • Take anti-nausea drug(s) exactly as directed by your doctor. It is easier to prevent nausea than to treat it.
  • Contact your doctor if nausea lasts more than 48 hours or vomiting for more than 24 hours.
  • Also see Nausea & Vomiting pamphlet.*
Contact your health care team if no improvement or if severe

Effects on the brain
(severe headache, loss of consciousness, seizures, confusion, hallucinations)

Get emergency medical help right away

Kidney problems
(lower back pain, body swelling, passing little or no urine, or recent unusual weight gain)

Bladder problems (bladder pain, burning or pain when passing urine, red-tinged urine (blood))
• Also look for passing little or no urine, or recent unusual weight gain
• It is important to drink extra fluids to help prevent kidney and bladder problems. Discuss with your doctor. Empty your bladder often.
• You will be given another medication (mesna) to help prevent serious bladder problems.

Get emergency medical help right away

Unusual bleeding or bruising

You may have black stools, cough up blood, blood in your urine, purple or red dots on your skin or bleeding that will not stop. 

Fever, chills, infection

You have a fever if your temperature taken in your mouth (oral temperature) is:

  • 38.3°C (100.9°F) or higher at any time OR
  • 38.0°C (100.4°F) or higher for at least one hour.

While you are getting chemotherapy treatments:

  • Keep a digital thermometer at home and take your temperature if you feel hot or unwell (for example, chills).
  • Avoid taking medications that treat a fever before you take your temperature (for example, Tylenol®, acetaminophen, Advil® or ibuprofen) as they may hide a fever.
  • Do not eat or drink anything hot or cold right before taking your temperature.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Check with your doctor before getting any vaccines, surgeries or visiting your dentist.

If you have a fever, talk to your health care team or go to the closest emergency room. 
See our Neutropenia (Low white blood cell count) pamphlet for more information.

Get emergency medical help right away

Side effects and what to do When to contact doctor?
Less Common Side Effects, but may be Severe

Abnormal liver lab tests

  • Your doctor will monitor these regularly.  Call your doctor if you have yellowish skin or eyes, or unusual dark urine.
Contact your health care team if no improvement or if severe

Heart problems
(irregular heartbeat, chest pain, fainting, swelling in legs/ankles/belly, shortness of breath)

Get emergency medical help right away
Blockage of an artery (blood vessel) in your heart, brain, chest, belly, or limbs; this may result in stroke (sudden loss of vision, speech, or the use of your limb(s)) or heart attack (chest pain, shortness of breath), or pain in chest, belly or limb Get emergency medical help right away

Severe rash
• may occur on the body/limbs with blistering or peeling of skin

Get emergency medical help right away

Bleeding/clotting disorder
(may include bleeding from more than 1 site, bruising, signs of blood clots, kidney/liver/lung problems, fever, confusion)

 

Get emergency medical help right away

Rapid breakdown of red blood cells
(yellowing of the skin or eyes and/or red-brown urine)

Get emergency medical help right away

Allergic reaction (fever, severe rash, itchiness, swollen face, lip or tongue, chest or throat tightness; may occur during or shortly after the drug is given)

 

Get emergency medical help right away

Pancreas problems
(increased pain in centre of belly and may extend to the back, appetite or weight loss)

Get emergency medical help right away

Lung problems
(increased cough, breathing problems, chest pain, coughing blood)

Get emergency medical help right away

Breakdown of muscle cells, may lead to kidney problems
(severe muscle pain or weakness, dark urine)

Get emergency medical help right away

Low measured salt levels in your blood which may lead to mild confusion or swelling

 

 

Get emergency medical help right away
Blood clot (limb pain or swelling, hardened vein in limb), may occur in lungs (sudden start of coughing, breathing problems, chest pain, coughing blood) Get emergency medical help right away

For more links on how to manage your symptoms go to www.cancercare.on.ca/symptoms.

The information set out in the medication information sheets, regimen information sheets, and symptom management information (for patients) contained in the Drug Formulary (the "Formulary") is intended to be used by health professionals and patients for informational purposes only. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or side effects of a certain drug, nor should it be used to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for a given condition.

A patient should always consult a healthcare provider if he/she has any questions regarding the information set out in the Formulary. The information in the Formulary is not intended to act as or replace medical advice and should not be relied upon in any such regard. All uses of the Formulary are subject to clinical judgment and actual prescribing patterns may not follow the information provided in the Formulary.