Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Oct 28, 2020.
- This medicine may lower the ability of the bone marrow to make blood cells that the body needs. If blood cell counts get very low, this can lead to bleeding problems, infections, or anemia. If you have questions, talk with the doctor.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- Other types of cancer may rarely happen later in life.
- Allergic reactions may rarely occur.
Uses of Alkeran:
- It is used to treat multiple myeloma.
- It is used to treat cancer of the ovary.
- It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Alkeran?
- If you have an allergy to melphalan or any other part of Alkeran (melphalan tablets).
- If you are allergic to Alkeran (melphalan tablets); any part of Alkeran (melphalan tablets); or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
- If you are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take Alkeran (melphalan tablets).
This medicine may interact with other drugs or health problems.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take Alkeran (melphalan tablets) with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Alkeran?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take Alkeran (melphalan tablets). This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- You may have more chance of getting an infection. Wash hands often. Stay away from people with infections, colds, or flu.
- You may bleed more easily. Be careful and avoid injury. Use a soft toothbrush and an electric razor.
- Talk with your doctor before getting any vaccines. Use of some vaccines with Alkeran (melphalan tablets) may either raise the chance of an infection or make the vaccine not work as well.
- Constipation, diarrhea, throwing up, and upset stomach are common with Alkeran (melphalan tablets). If these happen, talk with your doctor about ways to lower these side effects. Call your doctor right away if any of these effects bother you, do not go away, or get very bad.
- To help with mouth sores, use a soft toothbrush or cotton swabs and rinse the mouth. Do not use mouth rinses that have alcohol in them.
- If you are 65 or older, use Alkeran (melphalan tablets) with care. You could have more side effects.
- This medicine may cause the ovaries to not work. This may also cause menstrual periods to stop. Talk with the doctor.
- This medicine may affect fertility. Fertility problems may lead to not being able to get pregnant or father a child. In both men and women, this may go back to normal but sometimes it may not. Talk with your doctor.
- If you are a man and have sex with a female who could get pregnant, protect her from pregnancy during treatment and for some time after your last dose. Talk with your doctor to see how long to use birth control after you stop Alkeran (melphalan tablets).
- If you are a man and your sex partner gets pregnant while you take Alkeran (melphalan tablets) or within several months after your last dose, call your doctor right away.
- This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant.
- Use birth control to prevent pregnancy during treatment and for some time after your last dose. Talk with your doctor to see how long to use birth control after you stop Alkeran (melphalan tablets).
- If you get pregnant while taking Alkeran (melphalan tablets) or within several months after the last dose, call your doctor right away.
How is this medicine (Alkeran) best taken?
Use Alkeran (melphalan tablets) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Take on an empty stomach. Take 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals.
- Take Alkeran (melphalan tablets) at the same time of day.
- You will need to take special care when handling Alkeran (melphalan tablets). Check with the doctor or pharmacist to see how to handle Alkeran (melphalan tablets).
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
- Signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
- Signs of electrolyte problems like mood changes, confusion, muscle pain or weakness, a heartbeat that does not feel normal, seizures, not hungry, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
- Any unexplained bruising or bleeding.
- Feeling very tired or weak.
- Pale skin.
- Chest pain or pressure or a fast heartbeat.
- Dizziness or passing out.
- Shortness of breath.
- For women, no period.
- A skin lump or growth.
- Blurred eyesight.
- Very bad and sometimes deadly lung or breathing problems have happened with Alkeran (melphalan tablets). Call your doctor right away if you have lung or breathing problems like trouble breathing, shortness of breath, or a cough that is new or worse.
What are some other side effects of Alkeran?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Hair loss.
- Stomach pain.
- Not hungry.
- Change in taste.
- Mouth irritation or mouth sores.
- Feeling tired or weak.
- Weight loss.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Alkeran?
- Store in a refrigerator. Do not freeze.
- Protect from light.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
Consumer information use
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about Alkeran (melphalan tablets), please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
More about Alkeran (melphalan)
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Pricing & Coupons
- Drug class: alkylating agents
- Other brands
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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.