Busulfan

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

Busulfan causes severe bone marrow depression which may lead to severe anemia (eg, aplastic anemia). This may reduce the ability of the body to fight infection or cancer. It may also reduce the ability of your blood to clot properly, which could result in severe bleeding. Your doctor will perform lab tests, including complete blood cell counts, to monitor your progress and to check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.


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.

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
  • you are also taking metronidazole

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 depression, 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 the risk of toxic side effects of busulfan may be increased

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 usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you will be using busulfan at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use busulfan. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • Do not use busulfan if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • 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:

  • Busulfan may cause dizziness or drowsiness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use busulfan with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • If busulfan accidentally spills on your skin, wash it off immediately with soap and water.
  • 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. Do not touch your eyes or the inside of your nose unless you have thoroughly washed your hands first.
  • 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.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take busulfan before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • 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.
  • Busulfan may cause infertility. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
  • Busulfan may raise your blood sugar. High blood sugar may make you feel confused, drowsy, or thirsty. It can also make you flush, breathe faster, or have a fruit-like breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away.
  • Lab tests, including liver function tests, blood sugar levels, blood electrolytes, complete blood cell counts, and bone marrow 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.
  • Busulfan should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Busulfan has been shown to cause harm to the fetus. Do not become pregnant while you are using it. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using busulfan while you are pregnant. It is not known if busulfan 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; hiccup; indigestion; loss of appetite; mild fever or chills; mild redness or swelling at the injection site; minor cough or sore throat; muscle or joint pain; nausea; runny nose; 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); black, tarry stools; blurred vision or other vision changes; chest pain; confusion; decreased amount of urine, painful urination, or blood in the urine; depression; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; hallucinations; missed menstrual period; red, swollen, or blistered skin; seizures; severe or persistent pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site; severe or persistent cough; severe or persistent dizziness or headache; severe or persistent nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea; shortness of breath or trouble breathing; signs of infection (eg, persistent fever, chills, or sore throat); sores in the mouth or trouble swallowing; unusual bruising or bleeding (eg, nosebleed); unusual pain or swelling of the legs or calves; unusual stomach pain, swelling, or weight gain; vomit that looks like coffee grounds; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

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:

Store busulfan as directed on the prescription label. Store away from heat and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep busulfan, as well as needles and syringes, 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 healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using busulfan.

Issue Date: December 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.4.1.003
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.

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