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What are some types of chemotherapy drugs?

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Quick Answer

Some types of chemotherapy drugs include anti-tumor antibiotics, plant alkaloids, alkylating agents, antimetabolites and corticosteroids. Chemotherapy drugs are often categorized according to their chemical structure, how they work and their relationship with other drugs, states the American Cancer Society.

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Understanding how a particular group of drugs works is vital in determining the best treatment option for each patient. It enables doctors to predict possible side effects and effectiveness in dealing with given conditions. Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that mainly uses chemicals or drugs, notes WebMD.

Alkylating agents are a group of drugs mainly used to destroy cancer cell DNA. This makes it difficult for cells to continue reproducing. If reproduction of cancer cells is stopped, the progression of the disease can effectively be managed. Examples of these drugs include nitrosoureas, nitrogen mustards, alkyl sulfonates and triazines.

Anti-tumor antibiotics work by altering cancer cell DNA. This inhibits the cells from further growth and multiplication. Examples of drugs in this category include anthracylines, bleomycin and mitoxantrone.

Corticosteroids are most commonly referred to as steroids. These consist of natural hormones and hormone-like drugs. They are often used along with other drugs. They help prevent symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and allergic reactions.

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