You have been prescribed Mitomycin C chemotherapy eye drops. Fluorouracil is a cytotoxic agent which means that it can damage healthy tissue cells, and can be harmful if misused. It is therefore important that you handle your drops with care, using them only as prescribed.
What do I need before starting my drops?
- Disposable gloves (available at any pharmacy)
- Special cytotoxic waste container (available at your nearest pharmacy)
How often should I use my eye drops?
One drop should be instilled into your affected eye four times daily (e.g. 7am, 12pm, 5pm and 10pm).
The drops will be supplied to you on a weekly basis (e.g. one week at a time). You must start a new bottle with each cycle. Your length of treatment will be discussed with you. A usual course entails a one-week course of treatment, followed by a one-week rest period (when the drops are not used). This course is usually repeated three times.
Use a new disposable glove each time you insert a drop. Discard your gloves and your bottle (at the end of the cycle) in a special cytotoxic container.
On completion of treatment, the container should be sealedand returned to a pharmacy for safe disposal.
Should you need to use other drops at the same time of day, please leave at least five minutes between them to prevent one drop one drop from diluting the other.
How do I use my eye drops?
- Make sure you have a clean tissue available for use and that your special container is to hand.
- Wash and dry your hands, then put on a fresh pair of disposable gloves.
- Remove the dropper cap from the container. Gently pull down the lower eyelid of the eye being treated, until a small pocket forms between your eyelid and your eyeball. Using the dropper, put one drop into this pocket.
- Replace the dropper cap and close the drop’s bottle without delay.
- If any drops spill onto your cheek, you should immediately wipe them away with a tissue which should be discarded using the special container, then wash the affected area with warm water and soap.
- Bathe the area with a dilute bicarbonate solution (three teaspoons of sodium bicarbonate powder into 200ml of water) to prevent the skin becoming red and irritated.
You could also protect your skin before instillation of the drops by applying a light covering of a white petroleum jelly ointment (such as Vaseline) to your cheek. Wash your hands thoroughly after use.
Are there any side effects from the treatment?
The drops may sting at first and usually cause the eye to become a little inflamed and sensitive. If the stinging or inflammation becomes severe your ophthalmologist who prescribed the drops.
Some patients may experience rare side effects from the drops that could cause the upper eye lid to droop (Ptosis). This may require surgery to realign the lid.
What will happen if I don’t have any treatment?
Your tumour may continue to grow. This might make treatment more difficult and could make your eye painful. There may be an increased risk of tumour spread out of your eye and to other parts of your body.
Is there anything else I should know?
- Remember that the eye drops have been prescribed for you only and you must never let anyone else use them. Do not store the drops in the fridge. Store the drops at room temperature
- The drops can be toxic if used incorrectly so please ensure they arestored in a safe place out of the reach of children.
- Handling of drops is not recommended during pregnancy. Care should be taken if there is any risk of pregnancy or if breastfeeding.
- Both men and women should use birth control methods during and for three months following treatment with Mitomycin C eye drops.