Generic Name Brand Name
cisplatin Abiplatin, Platinol

Cisplatin is an intravenous (IV) medication usually given in a dose that is based on body surface area. The type and extent of a cancer determines the exact dose and schedule of administering this drug.

How It Works

Cisplatin is a heavy metal that kills cells by interfering with the multiplication of cancer cells. It affects all phases of the cell cycle. It is used specifically in the treatment of cancer.

Why It Is Used

Cisplatin slows or stops the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body. It is commonly used to treat cancer of the ovaries, cervix, testicles, endometrium, bladder, head, and neck.

How Well It Works

Cisplatin is an effective antitumor medication. It is one of the main drugs used for many types of cancer. It is often combined with other cancer drugs.1 The type and extent of a cancer determines how effectively this medication slows or stops the growth of cancer cells in the body.

Side Effects

Side effects are common with cisplatin. Most side effects of chemotherapy, including hair loss, go away after you finish treatment. Side effects can include:

  • Decreased white blood counts and possibly reduced red blood cell and platelet counts.
  • Nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
  • Headache or seizures.
  • Hair loss.
  • Diarrhea or constipation.
  • Mouth sores (stomatitis).
  • Peripheral neuropathies , which may be irreversible and may be made worse by exercise. Symptoms include:
    • Numbness and tingling.
    • Unsteadiness when standing or walking.
    • Clumsiness of the hands and feet.
  • Ear problems (ototoxicity), which may not get better. Symptoms include:
    • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
    • Hearing loss, especially high tones, or deafness.
    • Vertigo.
  • Eye problems, such as blurred vision or loss of the ability to see colors.
  • Kidney damage, which may or may not get better. Keeping plenty of fluids in the body during treatment may be helpful.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Cisplatin is administered only under the supervision of a medical oncologist.

Cisplatin can affect your ability to have children. You may not be able to get pregnant or father a child after taking this medication. Discuss fertility with your doctor before starting treatment.

Cisplatin can cause birth defects. Do not use this medication if you are pregnant or wish to become pregnant or father a child while you are taking it.

Medications can be used to prevent or reduce nausea and vomiting side effects of chemotherapy.

Do not use this medication if you have:

  • Had a previous allergic reaction to cisplatin or other medications that contain platinum.
  • Kidney damage.
  • Hearing loss.
  • A history of gout and kidney stones.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.



  1. Abramowicz M (2003). Treatment guidelines: Drugs of choice for cancer. Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics, 1(7): 41–52.

Last Updated: May 13, 2009

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