Carboplatin (The James)


What is Carboplatin (KAR-bo-pla-tin) and how does it work?

Carboplatin is a chemotherapy medicine known as an “alkylating agent”. Another name for this drug is Paraplatin. This drug is made in a laboratory. It stops fast growing cancer cells from dividing and making new cells by destroying the DNA of the cell.

What should I tell my doctor before getting chemotherapy?

Talk to your doctor about the following:

  • If you have ever had chemotherapy and the names of the chemotherapy drugs you were given.
  • If you have ever had kidney problems.
  • If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant. Your doctor will talk with you about birth control while getting chemotherapy.
  • If you are breastfeeding.
  • If you have been told that you need to start a new medicine.
  • The medicines/pills you are taking, including:
    • Medicines prescribed by any of your doctors
    • Herbs
    • Vitamins
    • Over-the-counter medicines

How does my doctor decide my chemotherapy dose?

To determine your treatment dose, your doctor will review the following: your height, your weight, your age, your medicines, how well your kidneys are working, and any other health problems you have.

This drug may be given as often as once per week or once per month. Carboplatin may be given on a different schedule along with other chemotherapy. You will see the doctor or nurse practitioner about once per month while receiving this treatment

Should I eat or drink before my treatment?

It is best to eat a small meal before getting your treatment. Drinking plenty of non-caffeinated fluids may also be helpful. However, if you have been told to limit fluids, check with your doctor about how much you can drink.

How will my treatment be given?

Thirty minutes before your chemotherapy, you will be given several medicines to prevent nausea or vomiting.

Carboplatin is given directly into your blood stream through a tube (IV) placed in your arm or chest. Carboplatin comes in a bag with tubing attached. The nurse will connect the tubing to a pump. This treatment takes 30 minutes.

Your entire visit, including your doctor’s appointment and your treatment will take between 3 to 4 hours.

What are the side effects of this treatment?

Every person responds differently to treatment. Some of the more common side effects of this chemotherapy are:

  • Low platelet count (may cause you to bleed more easily or longer than normal and have more bruising)
  • Low white blood cell count (may increase your risk for infection)
  • Low hemoglobin (may cause you to have less energy and tire more easily)
  • Nausea and/or vomiting lasting for several days
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Hair thinning
  • Mouth pain or open sores in the mouth
  • Decrease in the amount of electrolytes in your bloodstream (your doctor will check the amount of electrolytes in your blood before each treatment)

When should I call my doctor?

You should call your doctor right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, including:
    • Difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest pain or tightness
    • Swelling in your face, lips, tongue, or throat
    • Rash
  • Fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) or higher
  • Chills, sore throat, new or worsening cough or a wound that does not get better
  • Open sores in your mouth
  • Nausea that prevents you from eating or drinking
  • Vomiting even after you have taken your anti-nausea medicine
  • Bleeding or bruising, including bloody or black stools or blood in your urine
  • Diarrhea (4 or more loose stools in 24 hours)
  • Swelling in feet or ankles
  • No urine output for more than 12 hours
  • Changes in hearing
  • Severe muscle cramps or twitching
  • Severe tiredness, weakness or pain

    Is there anything else I should know about this treatment?

    • Some patients may have an allergic reaction while Carboplatin is being given or within a day or two after receiving treatment.
      • If an allergic reaction happens during your treatment, the nurse will give you medicine to help manage the reaction and extra precautions will be taken when your next treatment is given.
      • You may also have a delayed allergic reaction a day or two after treatment. You will be given instructions on what to do if this happens.
    • Chemotherapy may make it harder for your body to fight infections. Wash your hands often and avoid people who are sick.
    • This treatment requires special precautions to prevent the chemotherapy drugs from coming into contact (through blood, urine, bowel movements, vomit and vaginal or seminal fluids) with others. Your chemotherapy nurse will give you guidelines to follow for 48 hours after receiving chemotherapy.
    • Chemotherapy can change how your body reacts to vaccines. Talk to your doctor before getting any vaccines.
    • You should drink 8 to 10 eight-ounce glasses of non-caffeinated fluid each day throughout your treatment. This is important to keep you hydrated while you are receiving chemotherapy.
    • This treatment may affect your ability to have children. Talk to your doctor before getting chemotherapy if you are planning to have children in the future.

    For more information about cancer, chemotherapy, side effects or how to care for yourself during treatment, refer to your Chemotherapy and You book, or ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

    You may also find it helpful to watch The James Patient Education videos at to help you learn tips for managing treatment side effects.


    © June 21, 2019. The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

    This handout is for informational purposes only. Talk with your doctor or health care team if you have any questions about your care.

    For more health information, call the Patient and Family Resource Center at 614-366-0602 or visit