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Alkeran Tablets

Generic Name: Melphalan Tablets (MEL fa lan)
Brand Name: Alkeran

  • This medicine may have unsafe effects on the bone marrow. The bone marrow may not be able to make cells found in the blood as well as it used to for a few weeks. This may raise the chance of bleeding or infection. 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 any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If you are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take this medicine.

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 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 this medicine. 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 with Alkeran may either raise the chance of an infection or make the vaccine not work as well.
  • If you have upset stomach, throwing up, loose stools (diarrhea), or are not hungry, talk with your doctor. There may be ways to lower these side effects.
  • 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 this medicine 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 care and for some time after care ends. Use birth control that you can trust. Talk with your doctor to see how long to use birth control after you stop Alkeran.
  • If you are a man and your sex partner gets pregnant while you take this medicine 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 that you can trust to prevent pregnancy during care and for some time after care ends. Talk with your doctor to see how long to use birth control after you stop Alkeran.
  • If you get pregnant while taking this medicine or within several months after the last dose, call your doctor right away.

How is this medicine (Alkeran) best taken?

Use Alkeran 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 this medicine at the same time of day.
  • You will need to take special care when handling Alkeran. Check with the doctor or pharmacist to see how to handle this medicine.

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.

See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)

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 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.
  • Very 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.
  • Swelling.
  • A big weight loss.
  • 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:

  • Loose stools (diarrhea).
  • Hard stools (constipation).
  • Hair loss.
  • Upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Not hungry.
  • Change in taste.
  • Mouth irritation or mouth sores.
  • Feeling tired or weak.

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-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

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.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

  • 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.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about this medicine, 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.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take Alkeran or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. 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 Alkeran. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Review Date: September 6, 2017

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