BLEOMYCIN

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Blenoxane

GENERIC NAME(S): BLEOMYCIN SULFATE

 

Description: Bleomycin is a cancer medication that inhibits DNA synthesis. To a lesser extent, it also inhibits RNA and protein synthesis.  This interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells.

Indications

Bleomycin is used to treat cancer. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.  This is used as a palliative treatment against Squamous cells carcinoma, lymphomas, testicular carcinoma, malignant pleural effusion.

Contraindications

Should not be given to patients with hypersensitivity reactions against the drug.

How to use bleomycin injection             

Dosage: 0.25 to 0.50 units/kg (10 to 20 units/m2) intravenously, intramuscularly, or subcutaneously weekly or twice weekly.

  • This medication is given by injection into a vein, into a muscle, or under the skin by a health care professional usually once or twice a week or as directed by your doctor.
  • When giving this medication into a vein, it is injected slowly over 10 minutes.
  • If you are receiving this medication through a chest tube into the space around the lungs, the solution is usually left in place for 4 hours and then drained out through the chest tube. Your doctor may direct you to change positions during the 4 hours to make sure the solution treats all parts of your lungs.

Allergic reaction: Infrequently, bleomycin can cause a serious, allergic-like reaction. It is most common in lymphoma patients. Before your main treatment with this drug begins, your doctor may direct you to receive a smaller test dose to check for signs of this serious reaction. Tell your doctor immediately if any of the following serious side effects occur: dizziness/fainting, confusion, fever, chills, trouble breathing.

Severe (sometimes fatal) lung problems (lung scarring) have infrequently occurred in patients using this drug.

Common side effects:

  • pain/redness at the injection site
  • fever
  • chills
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • darkening of the skin
  • changes in fingernails/toenails
  • temporary hair loss

Many people using this medication have serious side effects. However, your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Careful monitoring by your doctor may decrease your risk.

Painful sores on the lips, mouth, and throat may occur. To decrease the risk, limit hot foods and drinks, brush your teeth carefully, avoid using mouthwash that contains alcohol, and rinse your mouth frequently with cool water.

Bleomycin can commonly cause skin reactions (e.g., redness, itching, blisters, rash, swelling), usually in the second or third week of treatment. These reactions are not always serious. However, you may not be able to tell them apart from signs of a severe reaction. Therefore, tell your doctor immediately if you develop any skin reaction.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: dizziness/fainting, fast/pounding heartbeat, numbness/tingling, feeling of coldness in hands/feet, easy bruising/bleeding, pale/bluish skin, coughing up blood, vomit that looks bloody or like coffee grounds, signs of infection (e.g., persistent sore throat), change in the amount of urine, mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion, aggression), persistent nausea, stomach/abdominal pain, pink/dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin.

Get medical help right away if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: weakness on one side of the body, vision changes, slurred speech, chest pain.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: confusion, rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

Precautions

  • Allergy: Before using bleomycin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies.
  • Medical History: Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you had: immune system problems (e.g., chemotherapy, bone marrow problems), kidney disease, liver disease, lung problems.
  • This medication may make your lungs more sensitive to oxygen treatment.
  • Kidney function declines as you grow older. This medication is removed by the kidneys.

Pregnancy Risk:  Category D.  This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It may harm the unborn baby.

Breastfeeding:  It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

 

Interactions

  • Some products that may interact with this drug include: brentuximab, digoxin, drugs that may harm the kidneys (e.g., aminoglycosides such as gentamicin, cisplatin), phenytoin.

Overdose

If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately.

Notes: Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., chest X-rays, complete blood counts, kidney tests, liver tests) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.

Missed Dose: For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor to establish a new dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

Storage: Not applicable. This medication is given in a hospital or clinic and will not be stored at home.

 

Brands

Available Brands

  • Bloicin-S [ Korea United Pharma ]

Also marketed as

  • Bemocin [ Fresenius Kabi ]
  • Blenoxane [ Bristol-Myers Squibb ]

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