Mesna (INN) is an organosulfur compound used as an adjuvant in cancer chemotherapy involving cyclophosphamide and ifosfamide. It is marketed by Baxter as Uromitexan and Mesnex. The name of the substance is an acronym for 2-mercaptoethane sulfonate Na (Na being the chemical symbol for sodium).
It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, a list of the most important medication needed in a basic health system.
Mesna is used therapeutically to reduce the incidence of haemorrhagic cystitis and haematuria when a patient receives ifosfamide or cyclophosphamide for cancer chemotherapy. These two anticancer agents, in vivo, may be converted to urotoxic metabolites, such as acrolein.
Mesna assists to detoxify these metabolites by reaction of its sulfhydryl group with the vinyl group. It also increases urinary excretion of cysteine.
Outside North America, mesna is also used as a mucolytic agent, working in the same way as acetylcysteine; it is sold for this indication as Mistabron and Mistabronco.
It is administered intravenously or orally (per mouth). The IV mesna infusions would be given with IV ifosfamide, while oral mesna would be given with oral cyclophosphamide. The oral doses must be double the intravenous (IV) mesna dose due to bioavailability issues. The oral preparation allows patients to leave the hospital sooner, instead of staying four to five days for all the IV mesna infusions.
It is believed to act as an antioxidant.