Font Size

Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Trisenox

Generic Name: arsenic trioxide (Pronunciation: AR sen ik trye OX ide)

What is arsenic trioxide (Trisenox)?

Arsenic trioxide is a cancer medication. Arsenic trioxide interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their growth and spread in the body.

Arsenic trioxide is used to treat a cancer of the blood and bone marrow called acute promyelocytic (pro-MYE-loe-SIT-ik) leukemia, or APL.

Arsenic trioxide may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of arsenic trioxide (Trisenox)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • sharp chest pain, wheezing, rapid breathing, feeling short of breath;
  • dry cough, feeling weak, tired, or ill;
  • fever, chills, swelling in your ankles or feet, weight gain;
  • dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeat;
  • pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding (nosebleeds);
  • high blood sugar (increased thirst, loss of appetite, fruity breath odor, increased urination, drowsiness, dry skin); or
  • low potassium (confusion, uneven heart rate, extreme thirst, increased urination, leg discomfort, muscle weakness or limp feeling).

Less serious side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about arsenic trioxide (Trisenox)?

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as sharp chest pain, wheezing, rapid breathing, feeling short of breath, dry cough, feeling weak or tired, dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeat, fever, or swelling in your ankles or feet.

Do not use arsenic trioxide without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Before receiving arsenic trioxide, tell your doctor if you have congestive heart failure, a heart rhythm disorder, an electrolyte imbalance, high blood pressure, a history of "Long QT syndrome," liver disease, or kidney disease.

There are many other drugs that can interact with arsenic trioxide. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition and not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. You must remain under the care of a doctor while you are using arsenic trioxide. Do not miss any follow-up appointments.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Pill Identifier Tool

Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill finder tool on RxList.

Medical Dictionary