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Medications > Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) > Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) – pictopamphlet

CYCLOPHOSPHAMIDE (Cytoxan) [S-eye-clowe-FOS-fa-mide]

How to use this medication

What is it

Cyclophosphamide is a medication used to treat diseases like lupus and vasculitis. While taking this medicine it is important to have blood tests done and see your doctor on a regular basis.

Take it by tablet or Intravenous (IV)

Cyclophosphamide can be given by tablet or by an intravenous (IV) infusion.  Tablets are taken once a day while IV infusions are given every 2-4 weeks. Discuss this with your doctor.

Be patient

It will take 6 to 12 weeks for the cyclophosphamide to work. It is important for you to keep taking the medicine.

What you need to do

Stop if you have an infection

Cyclophosphamide can make it harder for you to fight off infections.  Stop the medicine and call your rheumatologist if:

  • You develop a fever
  • You think you have an infection
  • You are given antibiotics to treat an infection

Get regular blood tests

Have your blood tested REGULARLY. This is important to make sure cyclophosphamide isn’t affecting your blood counts.

Don’t get pregnant or breastfeed

Cyclophosphamide can harm an unborn child. If you are having sex or thinking of having sex and could get pregnant, it is important to use birth control. We recommend the birth control pill.

Side effects & important things to know

Nausesa & feeling unwell

Some people can feel sick to their stomach, have stomach pain, or develop diarrhea when they take cyclophosphamide. Please let your doctor know if this happens.


Cyclophosphamide can rarely cause a rash.  Let your doctor know if you develop a rash while taking cyclophosphamide.

Mouth sores

Cyclophosphamide can rarely cause mouth sores. Let your doctor know if this becomes a problem.

Hair loss

Cyclophosphamide can rarely cause thinning of the hair. Let your doctor know if this becomes a problem.

Bladder problems

Cyclophosphamide can irritate the bladder. This can cause pain and bleeding.  If you notice blood in the urine, tell your doctor immediately.  It is important that you drink 8 to 10 glasses of water per day.


Cyclophosphamide can affect the ability for women to become pregnant. It can also affect the sperm counts of men. These effects may be reversible when the medication is stopped.  If you are thinking of future pregnancies, you should discuss this very carefully with your doctor.


When used for long periods of time, cyclophosphamide may be associated with a small increased risk of lymphoma, skin, and bladder cancer.

When should I call my doctor

Please call if you need to stop

  • If you feel sick and want to stop
  • If you are concerned about any side effects
  • If you want to or have already stopped the medicine

Other Reasons to Call your Doctor:

Nausea or Diarrhea

Fever or think you have an infection

Pregnant or planning pregnancy

Blood in the urine or pain with urination

If you are having surgery