Vinblastine treats certain types of cancer. Vinblastine can cause tingling sensation and numbness in the fingers and toes.
Vinblastine is a prescription medication used to treat a variety of cancers including Hodgkin's disease, lymphoma, breast cancer, testicular cancer, and a certain type of uterine cancer. Vinblastine belongs to a group of drugs called vinca alkaloids which work by slowing the growth and replication of cancer cells.
This medication comes in an injectable form to be given directly into a vein (IV) by a healthcare provider.
Common side effects of vinblastine include hair loss, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea.
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Vinblastine Cautionary Labels
Uses of Vinblastine
Vinblastine is a prescription medicine used to treat:
- Hodgkin’s disease
- Certain types of lymphoma
- Mycosis fungoides
- Testicular cancer
- Kaposi’s sarcoma
- Letterer-Siwe disease
- Choriocarcinoma (a type of uterine cancer)
- Breast cancer
This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for information.
Vinblastine Brand Names
Vinblastine may be found in some form under the following brand names:
Vinblastine Drug Class
Vinblastine is part of the drug class:
Side Effects of Vinblastine
Common side effects of vinblastine include:
- hair loss
- a decrease in white blood cells and platelet counts.
- weight loss
- changes in taste and appetite
- mouth sores
The side effects listed below are serious and need to be told to your doctor about within 24 hours of noticing them:
- vomiting more than four to five times in a day
- diarrhea more than four to five times in a day
- strange bleeding or bruising
- bone pain
- severe stomach pain
- sores on the lips or mouth
- blood in the urine or stool (this can look like black or tarry stools)
This is not a complete list of this medication’s side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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 aspirin, intraconazole (Sporanox), phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek), and vitamins.
Always tell your doctor what other prescription medications, nonprescription medications, vitamins, or nutritional supplements you are currently taking or plan to start taking during the course of a new medication. Do not take aspirin or aspirin-containing products unless your doctor tells you it is okay.
It is extremely important that the intravenous needle delivering vinblastine be properly positioned in the vein. If it is not, the drug can cause serious blistering and damage to the surrounding tissue. If you notice irritation, swelling, or redness at the IV site, notify your doctor or nurse immediately.
People who have to get repeated doses of vinblastine may feel symptoms of peripheral neuropathy (tingling sensation and numbness in the fingers and toes), this needs to be reported to your doctor immediately.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant before starting vinblastine. It can cause birth defects for the baby if you are already pregnant. Both men and women should not plan on conceiving a child while on vinblastine. Your doctor can tell you when it will be safe to do so after treatment.
Do not breast feed a child while on vinblastine.
Do not get any immunizations or vaccinations while being treated with vinblastine unless your doctor says it is okay.
Vinblastine 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 vinblastine there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving vinblastine.
Before taking vinblastine,
- tell your doctor if you are allergic to vinblastine or any other medicine
- 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 aspirin, intraconazole, phenytoin and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have liver disease
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
Vinblastine 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. In animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication and had some babies born with problems. No well-controlled studies have been done in humans. Therefore, this medication may be used if the potential benefits to the mother outweigh the potential risks to the unborn child. Vinblastine may harm your unborn baby.
Vinblastine and Lactation
Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if vinblastine is excreted in human breast milk or if it will harm your nursing baby.
Vinblastine is given in the form of an injection. In most cases your doctor will give you the injection in his or her office. Your doctor will choose your particular dosage based on your condition.
In some cases, your doctor may have you give yourself the medication at home. In this case, it is crucial that you understand how to give an injection and you are comfortable with this procedure.
- It is wise to start therapy for adults by giving a single IV (into the vein) dose of 3.7 mg/m2.
- The following is an approach to dosage at weekly intervals:
- First dose...........................3.7 mg/m2
- Second dose......................5.5 mg/m2
- Third dose..........................7.4 mg/m2
- Fourth dose........................9.25 mg/m2
- Fifth dose...........................11.1 mg/m2
- A maximum dose is 18.5 mg/m2 for adults. Dosing and duration may be adjusted according to therapeutic response or toxicity.
- As a single drug therapy for Letterer-Siwe disease (histiocytosis X), the starting dose of vinblastine sulfate has been reported as 6.5 mg/m2.
- When vinblastine was used in combination with other agents for the treatment of Hodgkin’s disease, the starting dose was reported as 6 mg/m2.
- For testicular germ cell carcinomas, the starting dose of vinblastine was reported as 3 mg/m2 in a combination regimen. Dose modifications should be guided by tolerance to the medication.
Vinblastine is usually administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting making it unlikely for an overdose to occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.
- People on vinblastine should try to drink lots of water, unless they are told not to, to help prevent constipation and dehydration
- Good diet and nutrition will be helpful, as well as eating foods that will help reduce the effects of diarrhea.
- People on vinblastine may be at risk of infections, so avoiding crowds or other people with contagious illnesses may help. Always maintain good hygiene and wash hands often.
Vinblastine FDA Warning
Vinblastine injection should be administered by individuals experienced in the administration of vinblastine sulfate.
Caution – It is extremely important that the intravenous needle of catheter be properly positioned before any vinblastine is injected. Leakeage into surrounding tissue during intravenous administration of vinblastine may cause considerable irritation. If extravasation occurs, the injection should be discontinued immediately, and any remaining portion of the dose should then be introduced into another vein. Local injection of hyaluronidase and the application of moderate heat to the area of leakage help disperse the drug and are thought to minimize discomfort and the possibility of cellulites.
FATAL IF GIVEN INTRATHECALLY. FOR INTRAVENOUS USE ONLY.