Mechlorethamine

Generic Name: mechlorethamine (me-klor-ETH-a-meen)
Brand Name: Mustargen

Mechlorethamine should only be used under the supervision of a doctor experienced in the use of anticancer agents. Do not inhale the dust and vapors of mechlorethamine. Avoid direct contact on skin, nose, mouth, or eyes. Mechlorethamine is very damaging to surrounding tissue if it accidentally leaks. Notify your doctor immediately if you develop signs of leakage: pain, swelling, peeling, and hardening of the skin around the injection site. Ice may be applied for 6 to 12 hours and a special medicine (sodium thiosulfate) may be used if leakage occurs.


Mechlorethamine is used for:

Treating certain types of cancer. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Mechlorethamine is an alkylating agent. It works by stopping the production of proteins necessary for cell growth and reproduction.

Do NOT use mechlorethamine if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in mechlorethamine
  • you have severe bone marrow depression
  • you are in your first trimester of pregnancy

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

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Before using mechlorethamine:

Some medical conditions may interact with mechlorethamine. 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 an infection (eg, chickenpox, shingles), bone marrow depression, low white blood cell counts, or anemia

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

  • Anticoagulants, oral (eg, warfarin) because side effects, including risk of bleeding, may be increased by mechlorethamine

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

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

  • Mechlorethamine is usually administered as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you are using mechlorethamine at home, carefully follow the injection procedures taught to you by your health care provider.
  • 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 mechlorethamine, contact your doctor immediately.

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

Important safety information:

  • Mechlorethamine may lower your body's ability to fight infection. Prevent infection by avoiding contact with people with colds or other infections. Notify your doctor of any signs of infection, including fever, sore throat, rashes, or chills.
  • Mechlorethamine may reduce the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your blood. To prevent bleeding, avoid situations in which bruising or injury may occur. Report any unusual bleeding, bruising, blood in stools, or dark, tarry stools to your doctor.
  • If you drink more than 3 alcohol-containing drinks a day, do not take mechlorethamine without first discussing it with your doctor.
  • Avoid vaccinations with live virus vaccines (eg, measles, mumps, oral polio) while you are taking mechlorethamine. Vaccinations may be less effective.
  • Drinking extra fluids while you are taking mechlorethamine is recommended. Check with your doctor for instructions.
  • If nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite occur, ask your doctor or pharmacist for ways to lessen these effects.
  • If you get mechlorethamine on your skin, rinse the area with water for 15 minutes. Contact your doctor immediately.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Mechlorethamine has been shown to cause harm to the fetus. If you become pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using mechlorethamine during pregnancy. It is unknown if mechlorethamine is excreted in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while you are using mechlorethamine.

Possible side effects of mechlorethamine:

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:

Diarrhea; dizziness; loss of appetite; nausea; skin rash; vomiting.

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

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); bleeding from the gums; cough; difficulty swallowing; fever or chills; irregular or absent menstrual periods; pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site; sore throat; sores on the mouth or lips; swelling of hands/ankles; unusual bruising or bleeding.

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. Symptoms may include easy bruising or bleeding; persistent sore throat or fever.

Proper storage of mechlorethamine:

Mechlorethamine is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using mechlorethamine at home, store mechlorethamine as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider. Keep mechlorethamine out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about mechlorethamine, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Mechlorethamine 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 mechlorethamine 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 mechlorethamine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to mechlorethamine. 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 mechlorethamine.

Issue Date: November 5, 2014
Database Edition 14.4.1.002
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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