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Busulfan

Generic Name: busulfan (bue-SUL-fan)
Brand Name: Busulfex

Busulfan causes severe and persistent bone marrow depression. You will need a stem cell transplant to prevent possibly deadly health problems. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.


Busulfan is used for:

Preparing the body for a hematopoietic stem cell transplant in combination with another medicine (cyclophosphamide) in patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Busulfan is an alkylating agent. It works by slowing down reproduction and growth of certain white blood cells.

Do NOT use busulfan if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in busulfan

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

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Before using busulfan:

Some medical conditions may interact with busulfan. 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 bone marrow problems, blood problems (eg, porphyria, thalassemia), a head injury, or a history of seizures (eg, epilepsy)
  • if you have undergone chemotherapy or radiation or have previously or are currently taking any other medicines for cancer

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

  • Acetaminophen, itraconazole, or metronidazole because they may increase the risk of busulfan's side effects

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if busulfan 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 busulfan:

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

  • Busulfan is given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • Other medicines may be given before busulfan to help avoid side effects.
  • If you miss a dose of busulfan, contact your doctor right away.

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

Important safety information:

  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take busulfan before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • If nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite occurs, do not stop using your medicine. Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist for ways to lessen these effects.
  • Busulfan may lower the ability of your body to fight infection. Avoid contact with people who have colds or infections. Tell your doctor if you notice signs of infection like fever, sore throat, rash, or chills.
  • Busulfan may reduce the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your blood. Avoid activities that may cause bruising or injury. Tell your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding. Tell your doctor if you have dark, tarry, or bloody stools.
  • Do not receive a live vaccine (eg, measles, mumps) while you are taking busulfan. Talk with your doctor before you receive any vaccine.
  • Busulfan increases the risk of a second cancer in future years. It may also cause a rare but serious lung problem (bronchopulmonary dysplasia with pulmonary fibrosis) within months to years after treatment with busulfan. Talk with your doctor if you have questions about your risk for these problems.
  • A serious and sometimes fatal heart problem has happened with some people taking busulfan. Most of the time, stomach pain and vomiting happened before the heart problem. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Serious and sometimes fatal liver problems have happened with busulfan. Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of liver problems (eg, dark urine, pale stools, persistent loss of appetite, right-upper stomach pain, unusual tiredness, yellowing of the skin or eyes).
  • Use birth control that you can trust to prevent pregnancy during care and for some time after care ends. Talk with your doctor to see how long to use birth control after you stop busulfan.
  • If you are a man and have sex with a female who could get pregnant, protect her from pregnancy during care and for some time after care ends. Use birth control that you can trust. Talk with your doctor to see how long to use birth control after you stop busulfan.
  • Busulfan may cause you to not able to get pregnant. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Busulfan may affect sperm in men. This may affect being able to father a child. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Lab tests may be performed while you use busulfan. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Busulfan may cause harm to the fetus. Do not become pregnant while you are using it. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor right away. It is not known if this medicine is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking busulfan.

Possible side effects of busulfan:

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:

Anxiety; back pain; constipation; diarrhea; dizziness; dry mouth; flushing or hot flashes; headache; indigestion; loss of appetite; mouth irritation or mouth sores; nausea; runny nose; stomach pain; swelling at the injection site; tiredness or weakness; trouble sleeping; vomiting.

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); chest pain or pressure; depression; fainting; fast heartbeat; missed menstrual period; seizures; severe or persistent dizziness or headache; swelling; swelling, warmth, numbness, change of color, or pain in a leg or arm; symptoms of bleeding (eg, vomiting blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds; coughing up blood; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; unusual vaginal bleeding; bruises without a reason or that get bigger; any bleeding that is severe or that you cannot stop); symptoms of electrolyte problems (eg, confusion, irregular heartbeat, mood changes, muscle pain or weakness, persistent loss of appetite, seizures, severe nausea or vomiting); symptoms of high blood sugar (eg, confusion, drowsiness, more thirst, more hungry, passing urine often, flushing, fast breathing, fruit-like breath odor); symptoms of infection (eg, fever, chills, sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, painful urination, mouth sores, wound that will not heal, anal itching or pain); symptoms of lung problems (eg, shortness of breath or other trouble breathing, cough, fever); unusual stomach swelling; unusual tiredness or weakness; vision changes.

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 busulfan:

Busulfan is handled and stored by a health care provider. You will not store it at home. Keep all medicines out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about busulfan, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Busulfan 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 busulfan 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 busulfan. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to busulfan. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using busulfan.

Issue Date: June 3, 2015
Database Edition 15.2.1.003
Copyright © 2015 Clinical Drug Information, LLC

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.

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