Oxaliplatin is a chemotherapy drug based on a platinum compound. It is generally used to treat cancer of the large intestine. Although it's exact mechanism of action is unknown, it is believed to inhibit the synthesis of DNA within a cell. Although it is toxic to all cells, cancer cells are more susceptible to the toxin because DNA synthesis is critical to cell division.
Like most chemotherapy agents, it can have severe side effects including damage to the peripheral nervous system, fatigue, gastro-intestinal distress, low white blood cell count, hearing loss, reduction in potassium levels and even hiccups. In addition, some patients are allergic to the platinum.