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Why is this medication prescribed?

Mesna, which stands for 2-mercaptoethane sulfonate sodium, is a medication that is primarily prescribed in oncology and urology to prevent or reduce the side effects of certain chemotherapy drugs, specifically ifosfamide and cyclophosphamide. These chemotherapy drugs can potentially cause damage to the bladder and lead to hemorrhagic cystitis, a condition characterized by inflammation and bleeding in the bladder. Mesna helps protect the bladder from these harmful effects.

How should this medicine be used?

Here’s how Mesna is typically used:

  • Dosage: The dosage of Mesna can vary depending on the specific chemotherapy regimen, the patient’s weight, and the individual patient’s risk factors for developing hemorrhagic cystitis. Your doctor will determine the appropriate dosage for you.
  • Administration: Mesna is usually administered intravenously (IV) or by mouth (oral). The method of administration will depend on your treatment plan and the specific chemotherapy drugs you are receiving.
  • Timing: Mesna is typically given before and after each dose of ifosfamide or cyclophosphamide chemotherapy. It is important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions regarding the timing and frequency of Mesna administration.
  • Hydration: Drinking plenty of fluids is often recommended while receiving chemotherapy and Mesna. Adequate hydration can help dilute the concentration of chemotherapy drugs in the urine, reducing the risk of bladder irritation.
  • Monitoring: Your healthcare team will monitor your kidney function and blood counts regularly during treatment with Mesna and chemotherapy to ensure that your body is tolerating the treatment well.
  • Adverse Effects: Mesna is generally well-tolerated, but it can cause side effects, including nausea, vomiting, and rare allergic reactions. If you experience any unusual or severe side effects, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

It’s crucial to follow your doctor’s instructions closely when using Mesna, as the dosing and administration may vary depending on your specific treatment plan. Additionally, discuss any concerns or questions you have about Mesna with your healthcare provider to ensure you receive the best care possible during your chemotherapy treatment.

Other uses for this medicine

However, there are some other potential uses and precautions associated with Mesna:

Other Uses for Mesna:

  • Radiation Cystitis: Mesna may be used in some cases to prevent or treat radiation-induced cystitis, which is inflammation and damage to the urinary bladder caused by radiation therapy.
  • Non-Chemotherapy-Induced Hemorrhagic Cystitis: In rare cases, Mesna may be considered for the treatment of non-chemotherapy-induced hemorrhagic cystitis, although it is primarily used for chemotherapy-related cystitis.

What special precautions should I follow?

When using Mesna, it’s important to take certain precautions to ensure its safe and effective use. Here are some special precautions to keep in mind:

  • Medical Supervision: Mesna should be prescribed and administered by a healthcare professional experienced in its use, especially when it is used in conjunction with chemotherapy drugs.
  • Allergies: Inform your healthcare provider if you have any known allergies to Mesna or related medications, as this information is crucial in determining whether Mesna is safe for you.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, discuss the potential risks and benefits of Mesna with your healthcare provider. It is essential to weigh the benefits of chemotherapy against any potential risks associated with Mesna use.
  • Kidney Function: Mesna is excreted through the kidneys, so individuals with impaired kidney function may require adjusted dosages or closer monitoring when using Mesna.
  • Fluid Intake: Adequate hydration is crucial when using Mesna, especially during chemotherapy. Drinking plenty of fluids can help dilute the concentration of harmful metabolites in the urine and reduce the risk of bladder toxicity.
  • Adherence to Dosing Schedule: Ensure that you follow your healthcare provider’s dosing schedule precisely. Skipping doses or altering the schedule can reduce the effectiveness of Mesna in preventing bladder toxicity.
  • Monitoring: Your healthcare team will monitor your progress closely when using Mesna, especially during chemotherapy. Regular blood tests and urine tests may be performed to assess your kidney function and detect any signs of bladder toxicity.
  • Side Effects: Be aware of potential side effects of Mesna, which can include nausea, vomiting, and skin reactions. Report any adverse effects or unusual symptoms to your healthcare provider promptly.
  • Interaction with Other Medications: Inform your healthcare provider about all medications, supplements, and herbal products you are taking, as some drugs may interact with Mesna and affect its effectiveness or safety.

Always consult with your healthcare provider for personalized guidance and to address any specific concerns or questions you may have regarding the use of Mesna in your treatment regimen. Your healthcare team will tailor its use to your individual needs and medical condition.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

There are no specific dietary restrictions associated with Mesna. However, it’s essential to maintain good overall nutrition and hydration during chemotherapy treatment. Your healthcare provider may recommend dietary changes or supplements based on your individual needs.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you miss a dose of Mesna, contact your healthcare provider or healthcare team as soon as possible. They will provide guidance on whether you should take the missed dose or adjust your treatment schedule. It’s essential not to double your dose to make up for a missed one without consulting your healthcare provider, as this could lead to unwanted side effects.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Mesna (Sodium 2-mercaptoethanesulfonate) is generally well-tolerated, but like most medications, it can potentially cause side effects. However, it’s important to note that the benefits of Mesna in preventing bladder toxicity associated with certain chemotherapy drugs often outweigh the risks of side effects. Common side effects of Mesna can include:

  • Nausea and Vomiting: Some individuals may experience mild nausea or vomiting when taking Mesna. These symptoms are usually manageable and can often be prevented or reduced with anti-nausea medications if necessary.
  • Skin Reactions: Skin rash or irritation can occur as a side effect of Mesna in some cases. These skin reactions are generally mild and may resolve on their own without treatment.
  • Flushing or Redness: You may notice flushing or redness of the skin, which is usually temporary and not a cause for concern.
  • Frequent Urination: Mesna can increase urine output, leading to more frequent urination. This is a normal response and is often necessary to help flush out any potentially harmful metabolites from the bladder.
  • Diarrhea: Some individuals may experience diarrhea as a side effect of Mesna, but this is relatively rare.
  • Headache: Headache is another uncommon side effect that may occur.

It’s essential to remember that not everyone will experience these side effects, and for many people, Mesna is well-tolerated. Additionally, the side effects are generally mild and manageable. Your healthcare provider will monitor your progress during chemotherapy, and if you do experience side effects, they can offer guidance and, if needed, recommend interventions to help alleviate them.

If you notice severe or persistent side effects or any unusual symptoms while taking Mesna, it’s important to contact your healthcare provider promptly. They can assess your condition, provide appropriate treatment or adjustments to your treatment plan, and address any concerns you may have. It’s also crucial to report any side effects to your healthcare team, as they can help ensure your safety and comfort during your cancer treatment.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?


  • Storage Temperature: Mesna should be stored at room temperature, typically between 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C).
  • Protect from Light: Keep the medication in its original packaging and protect it from light.
  • Keep Out of Reach of Children and Pets: Store Mesna in a secure location to prevent accidental ingestion by children or pets.
  • Follow Specific Instructions: If your healthcare provider or the medication label provides specific storage instructions that differ from the general guidelines above, follow those instructions.


  • Dispose of Unused Medication: If you have any unused Mesna medication, consult your healthcare provider or a pharmacist for guidance on how to properly dispose of it. Do not keep unused medication after your treatment is completed.
  • Community Disposal Programs: Some regions have specific programs or guidelines for the disposal of medications. You can inquire at your local pharmacy or healthcare facility about options for safe disposal.

In case of emergency/overdose

In the case of an emergency or suspected overdose of Mesna, take the following steps:

  • Seek Immediate Medical Attention: Contact your local poison control center (1-800-222-1222 in the United States) or go to the nearest emergency room. Provide them with as much information as possible, including the amount of Mesna taken and any symptoms you or the affected person may be experiencing.
  • Do Not Delay: Do not wait for severe symptoms to develop before seeking help. Prompt medical attention is essential in the case of an overdose.

What other information should I know

  • Keep Appointments: Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions regarding your Mesna treatment, including the dosing schedule and follow-up appointments. Regular monitoring is essential to assess the effectiveness and safety of the medication.
  • Inform Healthcare Providers: Make sure all healthcare providers involved in your care are aware that you are taking Mesna, including your oncologist, primary care physician, and any specialists. This information is crucial for coordinating your treatment and managing potential drug interactions.
  • Medication Interactions: Inform your healthcare provider of all other medications, supplements, and herbal products you are taking, as Mesna can interact with other drugs. Your healthcare team can evaluate potential interactions and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.
  • Patient Education: Be sure to understand the purpose of Mesna in your treatment, its potential side effects, and how to manage them. Ask questions and seek clarification from your healthcare provider or pharmacist as needed.
  • Follow Instructions: Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for taking Mesna precisely. Do not change the dosage or dosing schedule without consulting your healthcare team.

Always keep the contact information for your healthcare provider, pharmacy, and local poison control center readily available in case of any questions or emergencies related to your Mesna treatment. Open communication with your healthcare team and adherence to their guidance are crucial for ensuring the safe and effective use of Mesna during your cancer treatment.

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