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Other drug names: A-Am An-Az B C-Ch Ci-Cz D-Dh Di-Dz E F G H I-J K-L M-Mh Mi-Mz N-Nh Ni-Nz O P-Pl Pm-Pz Q-R S-Sn So-Sz T-To Tp-Tz U-V W-Z 0-9   

Vinblastine (Systemic)

Brand Names

In the U.S.-

  • Velban

In Canada-

  • Velbe

Category

  • Antineoplastic

Description

Vinblastine ( vin-BLAS-teen) belongs to the group of medicines known as antineoplastic agents. It is used to treat certain kinds of cancer, including lymphoma and cancer of the breast or testicles, as well as some noncancerous conditions.

Vinblastine interferes with the growth of cancer cells, which are eventually destroyed. Since the growth of normal body cells may also be affected by vinblastine, other effects will also occur. Some of these may be serious and must be reported to your doctor. Other effects, such as hair loss, may not be serious but may cause concern. Some effects do not occur until months or years after the medicine is used.

Before you begin treatment with vinblastine, you and your doctor should talk about the good this medicine will do as well as the risks of using it.

Vinblastine is to be administered only by or under the immediate supervision of your doctor. It is available in the following dosage form:

    Parenteral
  • Injection (U.S. and Canada)



Before Using This Medicine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For vinblastine, the following should be considered:

Allergies- Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to vinblastine.

Pregnancy- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or if you intend to have children. This medicine may cause birth defects if either the male or female is taking it at the time of conception or if it is taken during pregnancy. In addition, many cancer medicines may cause sterility which could be permanent. Although sterility has not been reported with this medicine, vinblastine may interfere with production of sperm and the possibility should be kept in mind.

Be sure that you have discussed this with your doctor before receiving this medicine. It is best to use some kind of birth control while you are receiving vinblastine. Tell your doctor right away if you think you have become pregnant while receiving vinblastine.

Breast-feeding- Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding or if you intend to breast-feed during treatment with this medicine. Because vinblastine may cause serious side effects, breast-feeding is generally not recommended while you are receiving it.

Children- This medicine has been tested in children and has not been shown to cause different side effects or problems than it does in adults.

Older adults- Many medicines have not been tested in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information about the use of vinblastine in the elderly.

Other medicines- Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving vinblastine, it is especially important that your health care professional know if you are taking any of the following:

  • Amphotericin B by injection (e.g., Fungizone) or
  • Antithyroid agents (medicine for overactive thyroid) or
  • Azathioprine (e.g., Imuran) or
  • Chloramphenicol (e.g., Chloromycetin) or
  • Colchicine or
  • Flucytosine (e.g., Ancobon) or
  • Ganciclovir (e.g., Cytovene) or
  • Interferon (e.g., Intron A, Roferon-A) or
  • Plicamycin (e.g., Mithracin) or
  • Zidovudine (e.g., Retrovir) or
  • If you have ever been treated with x-rays or cancer medicines-Vinblastine may increase the effects of these medicines or radiation therapy on the blood
  • Probenecid (e.g., Benemid) or
  • Sulfinpyrazone (e.g., Anturane)-Vinblastine may increase the concentration of uric acid in the blood. Since probenecid and sulfinpyrazone are used to lower uric acid levels, they may not be as effective in patients taking vinblastine

Other medical problems- The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of vinblastine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
  • Chickenpox (including recent exposure) or
  • Herpes zoster (shingles)-Risk of severe disease affecting other parts of the body
  • Gout (history of) or
  • Kidney stones (history of)-Vinblastine may increase levels of uric acid in the body, which can cause gout or kidney stones
  • Infection-Vinblastine may decrease your body's ability to fight infection
  • Liver disease-Effects may be increased because of slower removal of vinblastine from the body


Proper Use of This Medicine

Vinblastine is sometimes given together with certain other medicines. If you are using a combination of medicines, it is important that you receive each one at the proper time. If you are taking some of these medicines by mouth, ask your health care professional to help you plan a way to take them at the right times.

While you are using this medicine, your doctor may want you to drink extra fluids so that you will pass more urine. This will help prevent kidney problems and keep your kidneys working well.

Vinblastine sometimes causes nausea and vomiting. However, it is very important that you continue to receive the medicine, even if you begin to feel ill. Ask your health care professional for ways to lessen these effects.

Dosing-

The dose of vinblastine will be different for different patients. The dose that is used may depend on a number of things, including what the medicine is being used for, the patient's weight or size, and whether or not other medicines are also being taken. If you are receiving vinblastine at home, follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label . If you have any questions about the proper dose of vinblastine, ask your doctor.


Precautions While Using This Medicine

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.

While you are being treated with vinblastine, and after you stop treatment with it, do not have any immunizations (vaccinations) without your doctor's approval . Vinblastine may lower your body's resistance and there is a chance you might get the infection the immunization is meant to prevent. Other people living in your household should not take oral polio vaccine since there is a chance they could pass the polio virus on to you. Also, avoid persons who have taken oral polio vaccine within the past several months. Do not get close to them, and do not stay in the same room with them for very long. If you cannot take these precautions, you should consider wearing a protective face mask that covers the nose and mouth.

Vinblastine can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells in your blood, increasing the chance of getting an infection. It can also lower the number of platelets, which are necessary for proper blood clotting. If this occurs, there are certain precautions you can take, especially when your blood count is low, to reduce the risk of infection or bleeding:

  • If you can, avoid people with infections. Check with your doctor immediately if you think you are getting an infection or if you get a fever or chills, cough or hoarseness, lower back or side pain, or painful or difficult urination.
  • Check with your doctor immediately if you notice any unusual bleeding or bruising; black, tarry stools; blood in urine or stools; or pinpoint red spots on your skin.
  • Be careful when using a regular toothbrush, dental floss, or toothpick. Your medical doctor, dentist, or nurse may recommend other ways to clean your teeth and gums. Check with your medical doctor before having any dental work done.
  • Do not touch your eyes or the inside of your nose unless you have just washed your hands and have not touched anything else in the meantime.
  • Be careful not to cut yourself when you are using sharp objects such as a safety razor or fingernail or toenail cutters.
  • Avoid contact sports or other situations where bruising or injury could occur.

If vinblastine accidentally seeps out of the vein into which it is injected, it may damage the skin and cause some scarring. Tell the doctor or nurse right away if you notice redness, pain, or swelling at the place of injection .


Side Effects of This Medicine

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with their needed effects, medicines like vinblastine can sometimes cause unwanted effects such as blood problems, loss of hair, and other side effects. These and other effects are described below. Also, because of the way these medicines act on the body, there is a chance that they might cause other unwanted effects that may not occur until months or years after the medicine is used. These delayed effects may include certain types of cancer, such as leukemia. Discuss these possible effects with your doctor.

Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

  • More frequent
    • Cough or hoarseness accompanied by fever or chills;  fever or chills;  lower back or side pain accompanied by fever or chills;  painful or difficult urination accompanied by fever or chills 

  • Less common
    • Blood in urine or stools;  pain or redness at place of injection;  pinpoint red spots on skin ;  unusual bleeding or bruising 

  • Rare
    • Black, tarry stools 

Check with your health care professional as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • Less common
    • Joint pain;  sores in mouth and on lips ;  swelling of feet or lower legs 

  • Rare
    • Difficulty in walking;  dizziness;  double vision;  drooping eyelids;  headache;  jaw pain;  mental depression;  numbness or tingling in fingers and toes;  pain in fingers and toes;  pain in testicles;  weakness 

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

  • Less common
    • Bone or muscle pain;  nausea and vomiting  

This medicine often causes a temporary loss of hair. After treatment with vinblastine has ended, or sometimes even during treatment, normal hair growth should return.

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.


Additional Information

Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although these uses are not included in product labeling, vinblastine is used in certain patients with the following medical conditions:

  • Cancer of the bladder
  • Cancer of the kidneys
  • Cancer of the lungs
  • Cancer of the prostate
  • Germ cell ovarian tumors (a certain type of cancer of the ovaries)
  • Malignant melanoma

Other than the above information, there is no additional information relating to proper use, precautions, or side effects for these uses.


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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT
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