What’s Tepadina (Thiotepa)?

A type of chemotherapy medication that also goes by its scientific name thiotepa and a different trade name Thioplex. Other names this medication is known for include thiophosphoamide, TESPA, and TSPA. Tepadina is primarily used to treat cancers around the abdominal region. This can include peritoneal mesothelioma (cancer that affects the tissue lining of the abdomen) and other cancers in the bladder or ovaries.

Depending on the stage in mesothelioma (or other cancer), Tepadina can be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments like radiation, targeted therapies, surgery, and immunotherapy.

What is Tepadina Used for?

Thiotepa is an alkaline agent and fights cancer cells through a process called alkylation. This process involves the chemotherapy drug attaching itself to rapidly dividing cancer cells to slow or stop them from growing and dividing.

The exact dose and schedule your doctor will choose for chemotherapy depend on the patient’s height and weight, how the drug is administered, the patient’s general health, and the type and stage of the cancer being treated.

This chemotherapy medication can be administered in a few different ways. Through a vein (intravenously), into the bladder (intravesicular), into the spinal fluid (intrathecal), or into the abdominal (intraperitoneal).

This is an image representing the side effects of treatment.

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What are the Side Effects of Cyatarabine?

Adverse effects of chemotherapy treatment can be manageable and usually go away once treatment has ended. Talk to your doctor if any side-effects become overbearing, and they may prescribe other medications to help. However, your doctor will perform regular check-ups to monitor your body’s responses to Tepadina and adjust the dosage accordingly.

The most common side-effect of treatment is low white blood cell count. Since white blood cells (WBC) help your body fight infection and chemotherapy can cause your WBC number to drop, you are much more susceptible to infection from outside sources. It’s best to avoid large groups or being around sick people during treatment.

Other side-effects of Tepadina are:

  • Appetite loss
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Foggy or blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Redness or pain at the injection site if administered intravenously
  • Stomach or abdominal pain
  • Temporary hair loss

Less common side-effects that occur in 10-29% of patients:

  • Allergic reaction (rash, hives, tightness of the throat, shortness of breath)
  • Bladder irritation or bleeding
  • Bronzing of skin, redness, flaking, or peeling
  • Mouth sores

Contact your doctor after 24 hours of the following symptoms:

  • Black, tarry, or bloody stool
  • Blood in urine or pain or burning when urinating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Signs of infection such as swelling, redness, coughing mucous
  • Vomiting more than 4 times in 24 hours


This is an image representing the precautions to consider before treatment.

Chemotherapy Treatment Precautions

Some precautions to consider before, during, and after treatment can help the patient have a better experience.

Before Treatment

  • Inform a medical professional if you are pregnant or may become pregnant around treatment time
  • Tell your doctor about any other medications, prescriptions, over-the-counter, vitamins and herbal products you may be taking

During Treatment

  • Avoid sun exposure
  • Drink little or no alcohol
  • Refrain from breastfeeding
  • Stay away from contact sports or activities that require a lot of physical activity

After Treatment

  • If you must undergo surgery or other cancer treatment, inform your doctor if you’ve taken Tepadina in the past. This may affect the anesthesia you’re given.
  • Let your doctor know if you continue to experience adverse side effects

Before, During, and After

  • Don’t receive any kind of immunization or vaccination (without doctors approval). You must wait a certain amount of weeks after treatment ends.
  • Both men and women in chemotherapy must not conceive a child before, during, or sometime after, as exposure is hazardous to the fetus.

Discuss With Your Doctor

Keep communication open with your cancer care team and tell them about any concerns or questions you may have about chemotherapy drug Tepadina or Thioplex. They’ll be able to let you know if this is the right treatment option for you.

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