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Busulfan ( byoo-SUL-fan) belongs to the group of medicines known as alkylating agents. It is used to treat some kinds of cancer of the blood. It may also be used as a conditioning regimen prior to progenitor cell transplantation for treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia.
Busulfan seems to act by interfering with the function of the bone marrow. Since the growth of normal body cells may also be affected by busulfan, other effects will also occur. Some of these may be serious and must be reported to your doctor. Other effects may not be serious but may cause concern. Some effects may not occur for months or years after the medicine is used.
Before you begin treatment with busulfan, you and your doctor should talk about the good this medicine will do as well as the risks of using it.
Busulfan is available only with your doctor's prescription, in the following dosage form:
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 busulfan, the following should be considered:
Allergies- Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to busulfan.
Pregnancy- Although only one case has been reported, there is a chance that this medicine may cause birth defects if either the male or the 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. Sterility may occur with busulfan and the possibility should be kept in mind.
Be sure that you have discussed this with your doctor before taking this medicine. It is best to use some kind of birth control while you are taking busulfan. Tell your doctor right away if you think you have become pregnant while taking busulfan.
Breast-feeding- It is not known whether busulfan passes into breast milk. However, because this medicine may cause serious side effects, breast-feeding is generally not recommended while you are taking it.
Children- Although there is no specific information comparing use of busulfan in children with use in other age groups, this medicine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in children than it does in adults.
Older adults- Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults. Although there is no specific information comparing use of busulfan in the elderly with use in other age groups, this medicine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.
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 taking busulfan it is especially important that your health care professional know if you are taking any of the following:
Other medical problems- The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of busulfan. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Proper Use of This Medicine
Take this medicine only as directed by your doctor . Do not take more or less of it, and do not take it more often than your doctor ordered. The exact amount of medicine you need has been carefully worked out. Taking too much may increase the chance of side effects, while taking too little may not improve your condition.
Take each dose at the same time each day to make sure it has the best effect.
While you are taking 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.
This medicine sometimes causes nausea and vomiting. However, it is very important that you continue to use the medicine, even if you begin to feel ill. Do not stop taking this medicine without first checking with your doctor . Ask your health care professional for ways to lessen these effects.
If you vomit shortly after taking a dose of busulfan, check with your doctor. You will be told whether to take the dose again or to wait until the next scheduled dose.
The dose of busulfan 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, and whether or not other medicines are also being taken. If you are taking busulfan at home, follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label . If you have any questions about the proper dose of busulfan, ask your doctor.
If you miss a dose of this medicine, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
To store this medicine:
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 busulfan, and after you stop treatment with it, do not have any immunizations (vaccinations) without your doctor's approval . Busulfan may lower your body's resistance and there is a chance you might get the infection the immunization is meant to prevent. In addition, other persons 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 last 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.
Busulfan 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:
Before you have any medical tests, tell the medical doctor in charge that you are taking this medicine. The results of some body tissue studies may be affected by this medicine.
Side Effects of This Medicine
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT