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Gliadel

Generic Name: carmustine (kar MUS teen)
Brand Name: BiCNU, Gliadel

What is Gliadel (carmustine)?

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

Carmustine is used to treat brain tumors, Hodgkin's disease, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Carmustine is sometimes given with other cancer medications.

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

What is the most important information I should know about Gliadel (carmustine)?

Carmustine is used to treat brain tumors, Hodgkin's disease, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Carmustine 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).

Slideshow: Flashback: FDA Drug Approvals 2013

Carmustine can cause nausea and vomiting that may last up to 6 hours after your injection.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving Gliadel (carmustine)?

You should not receive this medication if you are allergic to it.

To make sure carmustine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • bone marrow suppression;

  • liver disease;

  • kidney disease; or

  • a history of lung or breathing problems.

FDA pregnancy category D. Do not use carmustine 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 carmustine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

How is carmustine given?

Carmustine is injected into a vein through an IV. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Carmustine is usually given once every 6 weeks. You may be given either a single injection or multiple injections over a 2-day period. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.

Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning or pain around the IV needle when carmustine is injected.

Carmustine can cause nausea and vomiting that may last up to 6 hours after your injection. You may be given anti-nausea medications to help prevent these side effects.

Carmustine 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 kidneys, liver, and lung function may also need to be tested. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.

Carmustine can have long lasting effects on your body. Your blood will need to be tested weekly for at least 6 weeks after you receive a dose of carmustine.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your carmustine injection.

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 receiving Gliadel (carmustine)?

Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

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.

Gliadel (carmustine) 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.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • new or worsening cough, fever, trouble breathing;

  • shortness of breath with mild exertion;

  • chest discomfort, dry cough or hack;

  • feeling weak or tired, loss of appetite, rapid weight loss;

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, sores in your mouth and throat;

  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;

  • pale skin, feeling light-headed, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating;

  • urinating less than usual or not at all;

  • drowsiness, confusion, mood changes, increased thirst, swelling, weight gain, feeling short of breath;

  • severe burning, irritation, or skin changes where the injection was given; or

  • redness of your eyes or skin and severe warmth or tingling under your skin (within 2 to 4 hours after your carmustine injection).

Common side effects may include:

  • nausea, vomiting;

  • headache; or

  • mild pain, swelling, redness, or darkened skin color where the injection was given.

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)

What other drugs will affect Gliadel (carmustine)?

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

  • cimetidine.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with carmustine, 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 doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about carmustine.
  • 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: 6.02. Revision Date: 2013-07-01, 12:39:06 PM.

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