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Mesna (Mesnex)

Article Translations: (Spanish)

How does this medicine work?

Mesna (mez-na) protects the bladder from the effects of the chemotherapy medicines cyclophosphamide and ifosfamide.

How should I give it?

Mesna is given by mouth or IV, with and after cyclophosphamide or ifosfamide.

If your child is taking the medicine by mouth, the taste may be improved by mixing it with fruit drinks (such as grape, apple, tomato, or orange juice), cola, or chocolate milk.

What should I do if a dose is missed?

If one dose is missed, call the clinic to determine how the dose should be made up.

If your child throws up within 30 minutes after receiving a dose, give it again. If your child vomits after 30 minutes, do not repeat the dose. Call the oncology clinic if more than one dose is missed or vomited.

Are there any precautions about food or other medicines?

Mesna can be given with or without food.

Your child should drink plenty of fluids while taking this medicine.

Check with the doctor, nurse practitioner, or pharmacist before giving any other prescription or non-prescription medicines, herbs, or vitamins.

What are the side effects?


  • unpleasant taste in the mouth


  • diarrhea
  • abdominal (belly) pain


  • mild nausea
  • skin sensitivity
  • headache
  • low blood pressure
  • limb and joint pain

When should I call the doctor?

  • skin rash
  • itching
  • bloody urine
  • decreased or not passing any urine

What else do I need to know?

All caregivers should wear gloves when handling urine, stool, and vomit while your child is receiving the chemotherapy and for 48 hours afterward. Urine, stool, and vomit can be safely disposed of in septic tanks and the sewer system.

Any clothing or bed linens that are contaminated with urine, stool, or vomit should be washed separately from other laundry in hot water and detergent. Anyone handling the contaminated laundry should wear gloves.

You and your child should know the names of all the medicines he or she is taking. Share this information with anyone involved in your child's care.

Always make sure you have enough medicine on hand. Each time you refill your prescription, check to see how many refills are left. If no refills are left the pharmacy will need 2 or 3 days to contact the clinic to renew the prescription.

Check the label for the expiration date. Bring outdated or extra medicines back to the clinic or pharmacy for disposal. Do not flush them down the toilet or throw them in the garbage.

Store all medicines in their original container and away from direct sunlight or heat. Do not store in humid places, such as the bathroom. Keep them out of children's reach, locked up if possible.

If too much or the wrong kind of chemotherapy medicine is taken, call the oncology clinic right away. If your child is unconscious or has a seizure, call 911.


This is not specific to your child but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call the oncology clinic or pharmacy.

Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
Last reviewed 8/2015

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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