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Generic Name: altretamine (all TREH tah mean)
Brand Name: Hexalen

What is altretamine?

Altretamine is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Altretamine is used to ease the symptoms of ovarian cancer. This medication will not treat the cancer itself.

Altretamine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about altretamine?

Altretamine is used to ease the symptoms of ovarian cancer. This medication will not treat the cancer itself.

You may not be able to use altretamine if you have severe nerve problems or severe bone marrow suppression.

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Altretamine can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. You may get an infection or bleed more easily. Call your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding, or signs of infection (fever, chills, body aches).

Altretamine can affect your nervous system. Call your doctor at once if you have severe dizziness, fainting, seizure, or severe numbness, tingling, or cold feeling in your hands or feet.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking altretamine?

You should not use altretamine if you are allergic to it. You may not be able to use altretamine if you have severe nerve problems or severe bone marrow suppression.

Before taking altretamine, tell your doctor if you have:

  • any nervous system (brain and nerves) problems; or

  • bone marrow problems.

You may not be able to take altretamine, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.

FDA pregnancy category D. Do not use altretamine if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether altretamine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

How should I take altretamine?

Altretamine is usually taken 4 times per day, after meals and at bedtime. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Altretamine is given in a 28-day treatment cycle, and you may only need to take the medicine during the first 1 to 2 weeks of each cycle. Your doctor will determine how long to treat you with altretamine.

Altretamine can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. Your blood will need to be tested often. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.

Your nerve and muscle function may also need to be checked.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose of altretamine.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking altretamine?

This medicine can pass into body fluids (including urine, feces, vomit, semen, vaginal fluid). For at least 48 hours after you receive a dose, avoid allowing your body fluids to come into contact with your hands or other surfaces. Patients and caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.

Body fluids should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or who may become pregnant. Use condoms during sexual activity to avoid exposure to body fluids.

Altretamine side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using altretamine and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe or continuous vomiting;

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

  • severe numbness, tingling, or cold feeling in your hands or feet;

  • severe dizziness or spinning sensation;

  • seizure (convulsions); or

  • fever, chills, flu symptoms, mouth sores, pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness.

Common side effects may include:

  • mild nausea or vomiting;

  • loss of appetite; or

  • mood changes, mild dizziness.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Altretamine dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Ovarian Cancer:

260 mg/m2/day administered either for 14 or 21 consecutive days in a 28 day cycle. The total daily dose should be given as 4 divided oral doses after meals and at bedtime.

Altretamine should be temporarily discontinued (for 14 days or longer) and subsequently restarted at 200 mg/m2/day for any of the following situations:

Gastrointestinal intolerance unresponsive to symptomatic measures;
White blood count <2000/mm 3 or granulocyte count <1000/mm 3;
Platelet count <75,000/mm 3;
Progressive neurotoxicity.

If neurologic symptoms fail to stabilize on the reduced dose schedule, altretamine should be discontinued indefinitely.

What other drugs will affect altretamine?

Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with altretamine, especially:

  • cimetidine;

  • vitamin B6 (pyridoxine); or

  • an MAO inhibitor--isocarboxazid, linezolid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with altretamine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about altretamine.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.02. Revision Date: 2013-07-01, 11:03:38 AM.