Altretamine

Altretamine Overview

Reviewed: November 12, 2012
Updated: 

Altretamine is a prescription medication used to treat ovarian cancer in adults. Altretamine belongs to a group of drugs called alkylating agents, which slow or stop cancer cell growth.

This medication comes in capsule form and is taken 4 times a day, after meals and at bedtime.

Common side effects of altretamine include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and weakness. 

Patient Ratings for Altretamine

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  • Other
  • Ovarian Neoplasms

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  • A month or so
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Altretamine Cautionary Labels

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Uses of Altretamine

Altretamine is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of ovarian cancer after treatment with other medications has not been effective.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Altretamine Brand Names

Altretamine may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Altretamine Drug Class

Altretamine is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Altretamine

Common side effects of altretamine therapy include:

  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • weakness

Some side effects can be serious. Tell your doctor right away if you experience any of the following side effects:

  • tingling of hands or feet
  • mental confusion
  • loss of coordination
  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • dizziness
  • fever
  • chills
  • rapid heartbeat
  • fainting
  • mood changes
  • sore throat
  • skin rash

This is not a complete list of altretamine side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Altretamine Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take cimitidine (Tagamet), other cancer medications, and antidepressants of the MAO inhibitor class such as:

  • isocarboxazid (Marplan)
  • phenelzine (Nardil)
  • tranylcypromine (Parnate)
  • selegiline (Emsam, Eldepryl)

This is not a complete list of altretamine drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

 

Altretamine Precautions

Serious allergic reactions have been reported with altretamine use. Do not take altretamine if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. Tell your doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • unexplained rash or hives
  • difficulty breathing
  • difficulty swallowing or a closing of the throat
  • swelling of the lips, tongue, or face

Altretamine can cause other serious side effects including:

  • decreased bone marrow function
  • blood disorders
  • neurologic problems such as mood disorders, disorders of consciousness, weakness, dizziness, vertigo)
  • peripheral neuropathy (damage to nerves)

Your doctor will order certain tests before, during, and after treatment to monitor side effects.

 

Altretamine Food Interactions

Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of altretamine there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving altretamine.

Inform MD

Before receiving altretamine, tell your doctor about all your medical conditions including if you:

  • are allergic to altretamine or any other medicine
  • have seizure disorders, nervous system disease, or blood disorders

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Altretamine and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

This medication falls into category D. It has been shown that use of altretamine in pregnant women caused some babies to be born with problems. However, in some serious situations, the benefit of using this medication may be greater than the risk of harm to the baby.

Altretamine and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if altretamine is excreted in human breast milk or if it will harm your nursing baby.

Altretamine Usage

Altretamine comes as a capsule to be taken by mouth, 4 times a day, after meals and at bedtime. It is usually taken in a repeated cycle for 14 to 21 days and then stopped for 14 to 21 days.

Your doctor will order certain laboratory tests before, during, and after your treatment to see if your blood cells are affected by this drug.

Altretamine Dosage

The altretamine dose your doctor recommends will be based on your height and weight. The recommended dose is 260 mg/m²/day. It is important you take this medication exactly as your doctor prescribes it. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully. Do not change your dose unless instructed to do so by your doctor. Do not stop taking altretamine without first talking to your doctor.

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is almost time for the next dose. In that case, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule.

Altretamine Overdose

If you take too much altretamine, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

If altretamine is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.
 

Other Requirements

  • Store this medication at room temperature (between 59° to 86°F).
  • Keep this and all medications out of the reach of children.

Altretamine FDA Warning

WARNINGS

  1. Altretamine capsules should only be given under the supervision of a physician experienced in the use of antineoplastic agents.
  2. Peripheral blood counts should be monitored at least monthly, prior to the initiation of each course of altretamine capsules, and as clinically indicated.
  3. Because of the possibility of altretamine capsules-related neurotoxicity, neurologic examination should be performed regularly during altretamine capsules administration