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Cytotoxic drugs (sometimes known as antineoplastics) describe a group of medicines that contain chemicals which are toxic to cells,. Cytotoxic drugs inhibit or prevent the function of cells. Cytotoxic drugs are primarily used to treat cancer, frequently as part of a chemotherapy regime. Recently, their uses have expanded to treat certain skin conditions (e.g., psoriasis), rheumatoid and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and steroid-resistant muscle conditions. The most common forms of cytotoxic drugs are known as antineoplastic. The terms ‘antineoplastic’ and ‘cytotoxic’ are often used interchangeably. Cytotoxic drugs have also been associated with negative health effects for developing fetuses, including higher incidences of spontaneous abortions, congenital malformations, low birth weight, and infertility. As part of any cytotoxic exposure reduction plan, protective reassignment for a worker who is pregnant, breastfeeding or intends to conceive a child must be put in place.
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