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patient education : 17036--Thiotepa: What your nurses would like you to know

Information sheet describing Thiotepa's possible side effects, skin care plan, and protective wear for staff, visitors, and patient.

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    What your Nurses would like you to know

    What is it?

    Thiotepa is an IV (intravenous) chemotherapy that will be given to you before your transplant through your central line. Your Doctor has reviewed the risk and benefits of this chemotherapy with you but there are some things your nurses would like you to know.

    Possible Side Effects:

    Thiotepa can come through the skin as part of your sweat. This can cause skin problems anywhere on your body but may be worse in moist areas like the groin, armpits, skin folds (neck area) and under dressings (like your central line).

    These skin problems may include: changes in skin color, itching, blistering, skin breakdown and peeling.

    Other possible side effects may include:

    • Bone marrow depression: a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This may place you at a higher risk for infection and bleeding
    • Decreased energy (fatigue)
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Soreness of the mouth and/or throat. You may have red areas, white patches, or sores that hurt.
    • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea)

    It is important to remember that most people do not have all of the listed side effects and to tell your Stem Cell Transplant (SCT) team (nursing staff and physicians) about any side effects that you might be experiencing.

    Skin Care Plan: to help prevent skin problems

    You Will:

    • Be asked to remove all jewelry and place in safe keeping
    • Shower every 6 hours (4 times a day) while receiving Thiotepa.

    Note: This means you will need to shower during the night as well. Your first shower will be 4 hours after the end of your first dose of Thiotepa.

    • Use only water and a gentle non-soap cleanser to wash your skin. An appropriate cleanser will be provided to you during your stay. Please pay close attention to areas of skin folds such as groin, armpits and neck.
    • Rinse thoroughly and pat your skin dry.
    • Put on clean undergarments and loose-fitting clothes after each shower. We recommend that you wear a hospital gown during this time.
    • Have your central line dressing changed after each shower by your nurse.

    Note: To avoid skin irritation a different type of dressing and cleaning agent (Betadine) will be used for your dressing change. Please inform your nurse on admission if you have an allergy to Betadine. 

    • DO NOT rub or scrub skin to avoid skin irritation.
    • DO NOT apply moisturizer, barrier creams, antiperspirants or deodorants on the days you receive Thiotepa or for 24 hours afterwards. These items can “trap” sweat close to the skin and increase exposure to the excreted drug. 

    You will need to continue this skin care plan for 24 hours after your last dose of Thiotepa.

    Protective Wear for Staff, Visitors and You


    All staff will wear a gown and gloves when caring for you during this time.


    Visitors are welcome! Visitors will only need to wear a gown and gloves if they are touching you.               We recommend that no visitors who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or actively trying to conceive should visit you during this time.


    We encourage you to walk in the hallways of the Stem Cell Transplant Unit during this time. You will need to wear a gown, gloves and mask.

    Note: You are not allowed to use the dayroom during this time.

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