Generic Name: carmustine (kar-MUS-teen)
Brand Name: BiCNU
Carmustine may cause severe bone marrow suppression, which may increase the risk of bleeding or severe infection in some patients. Lab tests, such as blood cell counts, should be performed weekly to monitor your progress or to check for side effects.
Severe and sometimes fatal lung problems have happened with carmustine. Patients receiving a high dose of carmustine may be at greater risk of developing lung problems. Lung problems may occur years after treatment and may be fatal, especially in patients treated during childhood. Call your doctor right away if you have lung or breathing problems like trouble breathing, shortness of breath, or a new or worsening cough.
Carmustine is used for:
Treating brain tumors, multiple myeloma, Hodgkin disease, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It may also be used to treat other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Carmustine is an antineoplastic. It works by blocking the growth of cancer cells.
Do NOT use carmustine if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in carmustine
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using carmustine:
Some medical conditions may interact with carmustine. 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 taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have an infection (shingles, chickenpox), bone marrow depression, lung problems, liver problems, or kidney problems
- if you are receiving radiation therapy
- if you have a history of tobacco use
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with carmustine. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Cimetidine because the toxic effects of carmustine, such as bone marrow suppression, may be increased
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if carmustine 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 carmustine:
Use carmustine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Carmustine is given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
- Your doctor may give you other medicines before you receive carmustine to help reduce the risk of side effects.
- If you miss a dose of carmustine, call your doctor to find out what to do.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use carmustine.
Important safety information:
- Tell your doctor or dentist that you take carmustine before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
- Carmustine may reduce the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your blood. 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.
- Carmustine 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.
- If you have nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite, talk with your doctor. There may be ways to lower these side effects.
- Check with your doctor before having any vaccinations while you are using carmustine.
- Long-term use of carmustine may increase your risk of developing another cancer. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
- Carmustine may cause tissue damage if it leaks from the vein. Tell your health care provider if you have any redness, burning, pain, swelling, blisters, skin sores, or leaking of fluid where the medicine is going into your body.
- You will need to have your lung function checked. Talk with your doctor.
- Lab tests may be performed while you use carmustine. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- Carmustine may affect sperm in men. This may affect being able to father a child. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
- If you may become pregnant, you must use an effective form of birth control while you use carmustine. If you have questions about effective birth control, talk with your doctor.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Carmustine may cause harm to the fetus. Avoid becoming pregnant while you are using carmustine. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor right away. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using carmustine while you are pregnant. It is not known if this medicine is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking carmustine.
Possible side effects of carmustine:
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:
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chest pain; fainting; fast heartbeat; severe or persistent dizziness; shortness of breath; symptoms of bleeding (eg, vomiting blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds; coughing up blood; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; unusual vaginal bleeding; bruises without a reason or bruises that get bigger; any bleeding that is severe or that you cannot stop); symptoms of infection (eg, fever, chills, sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, painful urination, mouth sores, wound that will not heal, anal itching or pain); symptoms of kidney problems (eg, not able to pass urine, change in how much urine is passed, blood in the urine, a big weight gain); symptoms of liver problems (eg, dark urine; pale stools; persistent loss of appetite; unusual nausea, stomach pain, or tiredness; yellowing of the skin or eyes); unusual tiredness or weakness; vision changes.
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 carmustine:
Carmustine is handled and stored by a health care provider. You will not store it at home. Keep all medicines out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about carmustine, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Carmustine 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 carmustine 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 carmustine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to carmustine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using carmustine.
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.
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