ABVD chemotherapy is one of the most common types of chemotherapy regimens for treating Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The name ABVD is an abbreviation for the four types of drugs used in this treatment:

  • A: doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin)
  • B: bleomycin sulfate
  • V: vinblastine sulfate
  • D: dacarbazine

The FDA has approved over 150 chemotherapeutic medications from trusted sources for the treatment of cancer. These medications all target cancer cells in various ways. The best chance of curing cancer frequently comes from combining several chemotherapy medications.

ABVD is a combination chemotherapy therapy to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma made up of four drugs.

DrugDrug classAmount per m² of body surface area
doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin)antitumor antibiotic25 mg
bleomycin sulfateantitumor antibiotic10 units
vinblastine sulfateplant alkaloids6 mg
dacarbazinealkylating agent375 mg

ABVD is used in what conditions?

For more than 40 years, ABVD chemotherapy has been a staple of Hodgkin’s lymphoma care. It is used to treat cancer in both the early and advanced stages in both children and adults.

The MOPP regimen was replaced by ABVD, partly because of a reduced risk of adverse effects that impact fertility. The medications Mustargen, Oncovin, Procarbazine, and Prednisone make up MOPP.

Hodgkin’s lymphoma is occasionally treated with the Stanford V and BEACOPP regimens, two more regimens.

The drugs administered during ABVD, and other types of chemotherapy, can damage healthy cells and cause many types of side effects. While not everyone will experience all of these side effects, most people will have some. These can include:

Increased risk of infection

ABVD chemotherapy lowers your number of white blood cells and weakens your immune system. It’s important to contact your doctor if you have signs of infection or a fever over 100°F.

Pulmonary toxicity

A potentially serious complication of ABVD is called pulmonary toxicity, or lung damage. Experts think it may be caused by bleomycin.

Your doctor will likely do pulmonary function tests throughout your treatment to test for this side effect.

Neurotoxicity and peripheral neuropathy

Neurotoxicity is another potential outcome that affects many patients receiving ABVD. It can cause peripheral neuropathy, which can feel like numbness or tingling in your fingers or toes. This side effect seems to be caused by vinblastine.

Allergic reaction

It’s possible to develop an allergic reaction during treatments or in the hours afterward. If this happens, it will cause symptoms such as:

  • shortness of breath
  • difficulty breathing
  • hives
  • wheezing
  • whole-body rash
  • swelling of the face, lips, or tongue

Bleeding problems

ABVD chemotherapy can lower the number of platelets in your blood, making it more difficult to clot. You should seek medical attention if you experience tarry stools, tiny red spots on your skin (petechiae), or blood in your urine.

Tissue injury

If ABVD drugs leak out of a vein, this can cause tissue damage, which may feel like burning or stinging. To reduce this risk, your doctor may recommend using a central line, or PICC line, to administer the chemotherapy.

Early menopause

ABVD can affect the ovaries and cause menstrual periods to stop if you’re a woman who is still menstruating. Loss of your period may be permanent, signaling early menopause.

However, there are options to potentially preserve fertility if you’re thinking of having children in the future. Talk with your doctor to see if these options may be right for you.

Heart failure

It’s possible for the drug doxorubicin to cause heart failure. This requires immediate medical attention.

Symptoms of heart failure include:

  • shortness of breath
  • fatigue
  • swelling of your legs
  • chest pain
  • fast or unusual heartbeat

Other potential side effects

Additional side effects possible with ABVD chemotherapy include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • fever and chills
  • hair loss
  • mouth sores
  • fatigue
  • constipation
  • stomach cramps
  • injection site pain
  • pink or red urine
  • dark skin in areas such as elbows, hands, and knees
  • joint pain, especially in your hands, knees, and feet
  • sensitivity to sun
  • hand-foot syndrome
  • Comments Closed
  • February 13th, 2023

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