Generic Name: vincristine (vin-KRIS-teen)
Brand Name: Vincasar PFS
Vincristine must be administered in an appropriate medical setting under close medical supervision.
If vincristine accidentally leaks into surrounding tissue, the skin and/or muscle may be severely damaged. Notify your doctor immediately if you feel pain, redness, or irritation at the injection site.
Vincristine is for intravenous (IV, into a vein) use only. Fatalities have occurred when vincristine was injected into the spine. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
Vincristine is used for:
Treating certain types of cancer (eg, leukemia, Hodgkin disease, non-Hodgkin lymphomas, rhabdomyosarcoma, neuroblastoma, Wilms' tumor). It may be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Vincristine is an antineoplastic. It works by killing certain cancer cells.
Do NOT use vincristine if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in vincristine
- you have a certain disease of the nervous system (Charcot-Marie Tooth syndrome)
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using vincristine:
Some medical conditions may interact with vincristine. 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 able to become pregnant
- 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 a current or recent infection (eg, herpes zoster infection or shingles, chickenpox), bone marrow problems (eg, low blood platelets, low white blood cells), gout or high blood uric acid levels, liver problems, lung or breathing problems, muscle problems, or nervous system problems
- if you have a history of blood problems caused by chemotherapy
- if you have received or are currently receiving radiation therapy or other chemotherapy
- if you are dehydrated or have low blood sodium levels
- if you have recently received or are scheduled to receive a vaccine
- if you take any medicines that may increase the risk of nervous system problems. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure if any of your medicines may increase the risk of nervous system problems
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with vincristine. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Mitomycin-C because shortness of breath or other breathing problems may occur
- Warfarin because the risk of bleeding may be increased
- Azole antifungals (eg, itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole), cyclosporine, erythromycin, or protease inhibitors (eg, boceprevir, ritonavir) because they may increase the risk of vincristine's side effects
- Digoxin or hydantoins (eg, phenytoin) because their effectiveness may be decreased by vincristine
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if vincristine 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 vincristine:
Use vincristine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Vincristine is administered as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic.
- Drinking extra fluids while you are taking vincristine is recommended. Check with your doctor for instructions.
- Do not use vincristine if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
- If you get vincristine on your skin, rinse the area thoroughly with soap and water. If you get vincristine in your eyes, nose, or mouth, flush the area thoroughly with water.
- 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. 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 vincristine, contact your doctor immediately.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use vincristine.
Important safety information:
- Vincristine may cause dizziness or light-headedness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use vincristine with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
- Vincristine may cause constipation. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about using a stool softener or laxative to prevent constipation. If you become constipated while taking vincristine, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
- Vincristine may reduce the ability of your blood to clot properly. 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.
- Vincristine 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 receive a live vaccine (eg, measles, mumps) while you are taking vincristine. Talk with your doctor before you receive any vaccine.
- Lab tests, including complete blood cell counts and uric acid levels, may be performed while you use vincristine. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- Use vincristine with caution in the ELDERLY because they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially urination problems.
- Caution is advised when using vincristine in CHILDREN; they may be at increased risk of developing a certain bowel problem (paralytic ileus).
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Vincristine 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. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using vincristine while you are pregnant. It is not known if this medicine is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking vincristine.
Possible side effects of vincristine:
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:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Constipation; hair loss; mild stomach pain or cramps; nausea; vomiting.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); back, bone, jaw, or muscle pain; burning, numbness, pain, tingling, or weakness in the hands, arms, legs, or feet; change in the amount of urine produced; chest pain; confusion; decreased coordination or balance; dizziness; fainting; foot drop; hearing changes or loss of hearing; mental or mood changes; mouth sores or inflammation; muscle weakness; nerve pain; pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site; seizures; severe or persistent headache; severe or persistent stomach pain or constipation; shortness of breath; sluggishness; symptoms of infection (eg, fever, chills, cough, persistent sore throat, increased or painful urination); symptoms of liver problems (eg, dark urine, pale stools, persistent loss of appetite, yellowing of the skin or eyes); trouble urinating or other urination problems; trouble walking or moving; uncontrolled eye movement; unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual tiredness or weakness; vision changes (eg, loss of vision); wheezing.
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 vincristine:
Vincristine is handled and stored by a health care provider. Keep vincristine out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about vincristine, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Vincristine 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 vincristine 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 vincristine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to vincristine. 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 vincristine.
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.