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CHOP chemotherapy and vitamin supplementation; Rectal abscess
Mar 10, 2001

Dear Doc, Thanks for all of your help with this column. Two questions: 1)I recently started CHOP for NH Lymphoma. Are there any things I should avoid in the area of vitamins? I generally take two multiples a day, but a recent article in Poz said to avoid iron, copper and manganese. To the best of your knowledge is this true? Can I take vitamins C,E,B without worrying? How about Creatine, Carnitine? 2) Following my first round of chop I became neutropenic and ended up in the hospital with a fever. At the same time I had traumatized my rectum and had some bleeding. It got increasingly painful and continued to bleed for a week. The past several days the bleeding and pain have steadily (albeit slowly) decreased.( I have been on Cipro and Flagyl.) Now the colon/rectal Dr. has seen an abscess and wants to do a biospy. Is this wise at this point? (My white count is up to normal). Should I just let it continue to heal? Is there any possible infection that is not already being treated by the antibiotics which could not be found with a blood test (ie herpes, CMV?) My gut feeling is that I should just let this heal so I can go through with my second chop next week. Any suggestions? If I have the biopsy do I postpone CHOP? Help! Thanks HM

Response from Dr. Dezube

You ask many good questions-- 1) SHOUD YOU POSTONE CHEMOTHERAPY- The bottom line is that HIV lymphoma is very agressive and needs to be treated with CHOP, typically 6 cycles. I would favor minimizing delays in chemotherapy. It is vitally important this your white count be maintained in the high range since this will promote healing of your other bottom line (i.e. your butt). You may benefit from G-CSF; this agent will keep your white count in a robust range. I've had many patients in your exact situation. In all cases, we proceeded with CHOP. In a few cases, when the abscess was particularly bad (and this may be the case with you), I gave the patient half-dose CHOP for a cycle or two. Half-dose CHOP works almost as good as full dose CHOP. 2) VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTATION- Many patients use vitamin supplements. Certain supplements do indeed interfere with chemotherapy. Rather than tell you which ones do and which ones do not, I advise those patients, who wish to take such supplements, to avoid taking them 1 day before chemotherapy and for the first 3 days after chemotherapy. This 4 day hiatus in vitamin use should minimize any interactions. 3) CIPRO/FLAGYL- You ask is this a good choice. It is a great choice indeed. It covers most, if not all, the bacteria which tend to live in rectal abscesses. GOOD LUCK. Barring any unforseen complications, you should do well. BD.

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