Chlorambucil

Chlorambucil treats certain types of blood cancers. It can cause nausea and diarrhea. Women should not get pregnant while on chlorambucil.

Chlorambucil Overview

Reviewed: November 7, 2012
Updated: 

Chlorambucil is a prescription medication used to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL, a type of cancer of the white blood cells). Chlorambucil is also approved for the treatment of certain lymphomas. Chlorambucil is in a group of drugs called alkylating agents which work by affecting DNA replication causing rapidly multiplying cancer cells to die.

This medication comes in tablet form and is usually taken once daily for 3 to 6 weeks.

Common side effects of chlorambucil include anemia, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

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What are you taking Chlorambucil for?

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  • Other
  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Choriocarcinoma
  • Hodgkin Disease
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-cell
  • Lymphoma, Non-hodgkin
  • Ovarian Neoplasms
  • Testicular Neoplasms
  • Thrombocytosis
  • Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia

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  • A couple weeks
  • A month or so
  • A few months
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Chlorambucil Cautionary Labels

precautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautionsprecautions

Uses of Chlorambucil

Chlorambucil is a prescription medication used to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL; a type of cancer of the white blood cells). Chlorambucil is also approved for the treatment of certain lymphomas.

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

Chlorambucil Brand Names

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

Chlorambucil Drug Class

Chlorambucil is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Chlorambucil

Chlorambucil may cause side effects including:

  • bone marrow suppression which can cause low levels of red and white blood cells as well as low levels of platelets (increasing risk of infection, anemia, and blood clotting problems)
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • unusual tiredness
  • mouth and throat sores

Tell your doctor if any of the above symptoms are severe or do not go away.

Tell your doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms of serious side effects:

  • rash
  • hives
  • swelling of face, mouth, throat
  • difficulty breathing
  • unusual bruising, bleeding
  • black, tarry stools
  • blood in urine
  • fever
  • chills
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • congestion
  • seizures
  • dark urine
  • yellowing of skin, eyes
  • upper right stomach area pain
  • lumps or masses

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

 

Chlorambucil 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 or are planning to take:

  • live vaccines
  • biologic and immunologic medications
  • other medications known to affect white blood cell counts

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

Chlorambucil Precautions

Chlorambucil can cause serious side effects, some of which are life-threatening, such as:

  • a decrease in the number of blood cells produced by bone marrow, causing anemia, increased risk for infection, and increased risk of bleeding
  • an increased risk in the development of other cancers, including leukemia
  • permanent infertility (sterility) by interfering with the normal menstrual cycle (period) in women and stopping the sperm production in men
  • seizures
  • severe, sometimes fatal skin rashes including Steven's Johnson syndrome

Chlorambucil 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 chlorambucil there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving chlorambucil.

Inform MD

Before receiving chlorambucil, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions including if you have:

  • liver or kidney disease
  • a history of seizures
  • an infection
  • ever had a head injury
  • received radiation or chemotherapy treatment

Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any ingredient in chlorambucil or any other medication, especially other alkylating agents.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Chlorambucil 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 chlorambucil 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.

Chlorambucil and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if chlorambucil is excreted in human breast milk or if it will harm your nursing baby. Because this medication has the potential to harm your nursing baby, you and your doctor will need to decide whether you should stop nursing or disontinue the medication.

Chlorambucil Usage

Chlorambucil comes as a tablet to be taken by mouth at around the same time each day.

  • Take chlorambucil exactly as prescribed.
  • If you forget a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose.
  • Your doctor will monitor your blood counts regularly.

Chlorambucil Dosage

The recommended dosage is usually 4 mg to 10 mg taken once daily for 3 to 6 weeks. For some people, chlorambucil is taken intermittently, as a single dose once every 2 weeks, or as a single dose once a month. The dose is individualized based on weight, the type of cancer being treated, response to the medication, and other medical conditions.

Your doctor may recommend a lower dosage if you have kidney or liver disease or if, during treatment, your blood counts drop too low.

 

Chlorambucil Overdose

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

If this medication 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 in the refrigerator.
  • Keep this and all medications out of the reach of children.

Chlorambucil FDA Warning

WARNING

Chlorambucil can severely suppress bone marrow function. Chlorambucil is a carcinogen in humans. Chlorambucil is probably mutagenic and teratogenic in humans. Chlorambucil produces human infertility.