Advanced Breast Cancer: Learn about treatment options.

Bleomycin

Pronunciation

Generic Name: bleomycin (blee-oh-MY-sin)
Brand Name: Generic only. No brands available.

Severe breathing problems and lung disease can occur with bleomycin, especially in elderly patients and those receiving more than a total dose of 400 units of bleomycin. A severe reaction consisting of low blood pressure, mental confusion, chills, and wheezing has rarely occurred in patients who have lymphoma. Contact your doctor immediately if you develop any of these symptoms or if you develop cough, tightness in the chest, or any other breathing problems.


Bleomycin is used for:

Treating certain types of cancer, including testicular cancer, squamous cell cancer, Hodgkin disease, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It is also used to treat or prevent fluid accumulation in the chest cavity caused by a tumor. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Bleomycin is an antineoplastic antibiotic. The way it works is not fully understood. It is thought to interfere with cell reproduction and growth, reducing the number of cancer cells in the body.

Do NOT use bleomycin if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in bleomycin

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: Grapefruit and Medicines: A Possible Deadly Mix?

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can react adversely with over 85 prescription medications.

Before using bleomycin:

Some medical conditions may interact with bleomycin. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have liver, kidney, or breathing problems, Raynaud phenomenon, or blood vessel problems

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with bleomycin. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Cisplatin because the risk of side effects such as difficulty breathing may be increased
  • Digoxin or hydantoins (eg, phenytoin) because their effectiveness may be decreased by bleomycin

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if bleomycin may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use bleomycin:

Use bleomycin as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Bleomycin is usually administered as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you are using bleomycin at home, carefully follow the injection procedures taught to you by your health care provider.
  • If bleomycin contains particles or is discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged in any way, do not use it.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Dispose of properly after use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain local regulations for proper disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of bleomycin, contact your doctor immediately.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use bleomycin.

Important safety information:

  • Before you have any medical or dental treatments, emergency care, or surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using bleomycin.
  • LAB TESTS, including complete blood cell counts, kidney and liver function tests, blood chemistry, chest X-rays, and lung function tests, may be performed to monitor your progress or to check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use bleomycin with caution in the ELDERLY because they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially lung and breathing problems.
  • Use bleomycin with extreme caution in CHILDREN. Safety and effectiveness have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Bleomycin has been shown to cause harm to the fetus. Avoid becoming pregnant while using bleomycin. If you think you may pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using bleomycin during pregnancy. It is unknown if bleomycin is excreted in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking bleomycin.

Possible side effects of bleomycin:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Chills; confusion; dark bands in nails; hair loss; itching; loss of appetite; redness, darkening, or tenderness of the skin; sore mouth; tiredness; weight loss.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); changes in vision; cough; fever, chills, confusion, or wheezing; lightheadedness; numbness of an arm or leg; one-sided weakness; pain, redness, or swelling at injection site; severe stomach pain; sharp or crushing chest pain; slurred speech; sudden leg pain; sudden, severe headache, vomiting, dizziness, or fainting; sudden shortness of breath.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of bleomycin:

Store bleomycin in the refrigerator, between 36 and 46 degrees F (2 and 8 degrees C). Mixed medicine may be stored at room temperature, 77 degrees F (25 degrees C), for up to 24 hours. Keep bleomycin out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about bleomycin, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Bleomycin is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take bleomycin or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about bleomycin. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to bleomycin. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using bleomycin.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Hide
(web1)