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Carmustine

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Notes
Related terms
Uses
Dosing
Safety
Author information

Notes

    Related terms
    • Brand Names: U.S.: BiCNU®;Gliadel®
    • Brand Names: Canada: BiCNU®;Gliadel Wafer®

    Uses
    • Shot:
    • It is used to treat cancer.
    • It is used before bone marrow or stem cell transplant.
    • Wafer (implant):
    • It is used to treat brain cancer.
    • Carmustine harms cancer cells causing their death.

    Dosing

    How to take

    • Shot:
    • It is given as a shot into a vein over a period of time.
    • Wafer (implant):
    • This drug is placed in the brain during surgery.

    Safety



    Warnings

    • This drug may have unsafe effects on the bone marrow. The bone marrow may not be able to make cells found in the blood as well as it used to for a few weeks.
    • This drug may cause very bad lung problems. People getting a large total dose for all treatments have a greater chance of lung problems. Call your doctor right away if you have trouble breathing. Children may have lung problems many years after getting this drug.
    • Sometimes drugs are not safe when you take them with certain other drugs. Taking them together can cause bad side effects. This is one of those drugs. Be sure to talk to your doctor about all the drugs you take.

    Avoid

    • If you have an allergy to carmustine or any other part of this drug.
    • Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs. Make sure to tell about the allergy and what signs you had. This includes telling about rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
    • If you are pregnant or may be pregnant.
    • If you are breast-feeding

    Precautions

    • If you have kidney disease, talk with your doctor.
    • Have your blood work checked. Talk with your doctor.
    • Check all drugs you are taking with your doctor. This drug may not mix well with some other drugs.
    • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
    • Talk with your doctor before using products that have aspirin, blood thinners, garlic, ginseng, ginkgo, ibuprofen or like products, pain drugs, or vitamin E.
    • Talk with your doctor before getting any vaccines. Use with this drug may either raise the chance of an infection or make the vaccine not work as well.
    • Avoid beer, wine, or mixed drinks.
    • You may bleed more easily. Be careful and avoid injury. Use a soft toothbrush and an electric razor.
    • Use birth control that you can trust to stop pregnancy while taking this drug.
    • If you are a man and have sex, protect your partner from pregnancy. Use birth control that you can trust.

    Side Effects

    • Chance of getting an infection. Wash hands often. Stay away from people with infections, colds, or flu.
    • Anemia, low white blood cell count, and low platelet count.
    • Feeling lightheaded, sleepy, having blurred eyesight, or a change in thinking clearly. Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert or have clear eyesight until you see how this drug affects you.
    • Upset stomach or throwing up. Many small meals, good mouth care, sucking hard, sugar-free candy, or chewing sugar-free gum may help.
    • Loose stools (diarrhea).
    • Headache.
    • Mouth irritation or sores. Using a soft toothbrush or cotton swabs and rinsing the mouth may help. Do not use mouth rinses that have alcohol in them.
    • Irritation where the shot is given.
    • Hair loss. Hair most often grows back when this drug is stopped.
    • Skin irritation.
    • Flushing and low blood pressure can happen if the shot is given too fast.
    • Harm to the lungs may rarely happen.

    Contact a healthcare provider

    • Signs of a very bad reaction to the drug. These include wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue or gray skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.
    • Signs of infection. These include a fever of 100.5°F (38°C) or higher, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, wound that will not heal, or anal itching or pain.
    • Change in thinking clearly and with logic.
    • Trouble breathing.
    • Very upset stomach or throwing up.
    • Very loose stools (diarrhea).
    • Any bruising or bleeding.
    • Dark urine or yellow skin or eyes.
    • Feeling very tired or weak.
    • Any rash.
    • Side effect or health problem is not better or you are feeling worse.

    General Statements

    • If you have a very bad allergy, wear an allergy ID at all times.
    • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
    • Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
    • Most drugs may be thrown away in household trash after mixing with coffee grounds or kitty litter and sealing in a plastic bag.
    • In Canada, take any unused drugs to the pharmacy. Also, visit http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/med/disposal-defaire-eng.php#th to learn about the right way to get rid of unused drugs.
    • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
    • Call your doctor for help with any side effects. If in the U.S., you may also call the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or if in Canada, you may also call Health Canada's Vigilance Program at 1-866-234-2345.
    • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including OTC, natural products, or vitamins.

    Author information
    • Copyright © 1978-2013 Lexi-Comp Inc. All rights reserved.

    Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


    The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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