Generic name: levamisole (lee-VAM-i-sole)
Drug class: Miscellaneous antineoplastics
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Nov 2, 2020.
Uses for levamisole
Levamisole is used with another cancer medicine (fluorouracil) to help make it work better against cancer of the colon.
Levamisole is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using levamisole
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For levamisole, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to levamisole or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Studies on levamisole have been done only in adult patients, and there is no specific information comparing use of levamisole in children with use in other age groups.
Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. Although there is no specific information comparing use of levamisole in the elderly with use in other age groups, levamisole has been used in elderly patients and is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking levamisole, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using levamisole with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of levamisole. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Infection—Levamisole may decrease your body's ability to fight infection
Proper use of levamisole
Take levamisole only as directed by your doctor. Do not take more or less of it, and do not take it more often than your doctor ordered. The exact amount of medicine you need has been carefully worked out. Taking too much may increase the chance of side effects, while taking too little may not improve your condition.
If you vomit shortly after taking a dose of levamisole, check with your doctor. You will be told whether to take the dose again or to wait until the next scheduled dose.
The dose of levamisole will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of levamisole. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
If you miss a dose of levamisole, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Call your doctor or pharmacist for instructions.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Precautions while using levamisole
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that levamisole is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.
Levamisole side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Fever or chills
- unusual feeling of discomfort or weakness
- Black, tarry stools
- blood in urine or stools
- cough or hoarseness
- lower back or side pain
- painful or difficult urination
- pinpoint red spots on skin
- unusual bleeding or bruising
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- Sores in mouth and on lips
- Blurred vision
- convulsions (seizures)
- lip smacking or puffing
- numbness, tingling, or pain in face, hands, or feet
- paranoia (feelings of persecution)
- puffing of cheeks
- rapid or worm-like movements of tongue
- trembling or shaking
- trouble in walking
- uncontrolled movements of arms and legs
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- metallic taste
- Anxiety or nervousness
- mental depression
- pain in joints or muscles
- skin rash or itching
- trouble in sleeping
- unusual tiredness or sleepiness
Levamisole may cause a temporary loss of hair in some people. After treatment has ended, normal hair growth should return.
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
More about levamisole
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Drug class: miscellaneous antineoplastics
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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.