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More than half the cancer patients undergoing cancer chemotherapy develop adverse drug reactions (ADRs). Cancer chemotherapeutic agents have a lower risk-benefit ratio than other drug therapy and kill cancerous as well as the normal rapidly dividing cells including bone marrow cells, gastrointestinal epithelium, hair follicles, etc. Their main ADRs are nausea and vomiting, mucositis, constipation, diarrhea, hematological toxicities, cardiac toxicity, alopecia, gonadal toxicity, pulmonary toxicity, neurotoxicity, nephrotoxicity, etc. The severity of the adverse effects may range from mild nausea to life-threatening neutropenia. Administering premedication and antidotes are very vital in these patients. Upon the occurrence of adverse effects, immediate steps should be taken to manage them. Though the ADRs due to anticancer medications are not avoidable, careful monitoring of the patients and modulating the drug schedules/dosages can help in minimizing them. Healthcare professionals should also develop strategies to minimize the occupational hazards associated with these drugs.
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