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Bleomycin Sulfate Injection

Last Updated: August 29, 2017
Status: Current

Bleomycin Sulfate Injection

Products Affected - Description
  • All presentations are currently available

Reason for the Shortage
    • Fresenius Kabi had bleomycin on back order due to shortage of active pharmaceutical ingredient.1
    • Pfizer has bleomycin available.2
    • Teva has bleomycin available.3
    • FDA was allowing temporary importation of bleomycin sulfate powder for injection 15,000 IU (15 units bleomycin sulfate USP). These vials were manufactured for Amneal Australia. The labeling and bar coding for the imported product is different from the US version. The imported product should be used in the same way as the US product. FDA has the Dear Healthcare Professional letter linked on their website. The product should be available through major wholesalers while supplies last.4
Available Products
  • Bleomycin sulfate lyophilized powder for solution for injection, Fresenius Kabi
    15 unit, vial, 1 count (NDC 63323-0136-10)

30 unit, vial, 1 count (NDC 63323-0137-20)
Bleomycin sulfate lyophilized powder for solution for injection, Pfizer
15 unit, vial, 1 count (NDC 61703-0332-18)
30 unit, vial, 1 count (NDC 61703-0323-22)
Bleomycin sulfate lyophilized powder for solution for injection, Teva
15 unit, vial, 1 count (NDC 00703-3154-01)
30 unit, vial, 1 count (NDC 00703-3155-01)

Imported product
Bleomycin sulfate powder for solution for injection, Amneal
15 unit, vial, 1 count (NDC 70121-1561-01)

Estimated Resupply Dates

  • All marketed presentations are available.

Implications for Patient Care

    • Bleomycin is a cytotoxic glycopeptide antibiotic. It is labeled for use in combination with other antineoplastic agents for the treatment of adults with squamous cell carcinomas (head and neck, cervical, penis, and vulva), testicular cancer, and Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It is also labeled for use as a sclerosing agent for the treatment of malignant pleural effusion.5-7
    • Bleomycin is used off-label for a variety of neoplastic diseases including AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma, osteosarcoma, mycosis fungoides, ovarian germ cell tumors, and intracranial germ cell tumors. It has also been used off-label in children to treat lymphomas, testicular carcinoma, germ cell tumors, and sclerosis of pleural effusions.5-7
    • Refer to national guidelines such as those from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network or American Society of Clinical Oncology for additional information regarding therapeutic use.


    • Chemotherapy agents, such as bleomycin, pose additional safety risks both for patients and for healthcare workers handling these agents.5-7
    • Use additional caution when processing orders for chemotherapy drugs, especially when switching between chemotherapy agents or when processing orders for chemotherapy agents with which staff may be unfamiliar (eg, those not normally prescribed at a specific institution).5-7

Alternative Agents & Management

    • The choice of an alternative agent must be patient-specific and based on renal function, liver function, and the neoplasm type and location. No single agent can be substituted for bleomycin.5-7
    • Consider evaluating the health-care system's total supply of bleomycin before beginning patients on combination chemotherapy regimens containing bleomycin. If adequate supplies are not available, select an alternative regimen.
    • Consult a Hematology/Oncology specialist for patient- and neoplasm-specific recommendations.
    • Refer to the ASHP Guidelines on Managing Drug Product Shortages for more guidance on developing a multidisciplinary plan when the supply must be allocated.


    1. Fresenius Kabi (personal communications). April 13, 18, and 27, August 3, September 2 and 28, October 27, November 21, 2016; January 4, March 10, April 13, June 2, July 6, and August 24, 2017.
    2. Pfizer (personal communications). April 13, 18, and 27, August 11, September 7, October 4, November 4 and 22, 2016; January 12, March 14, April 7, June 2, July 10, and August 28, 2017.
    3. Teva (personal communications). April 13, 18, and 27, August 11, October 3 and 21, 2016; January 10, March 6, June 13, and August 28, 2017.
    4. FDA (website). Accessed on July 13, 2016
    5. Antineoplastic agents. In: McEvoy GK, ed. AHFS 2015 Drug Information. Bethesda, MD: American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists; 2015: 839-1281.
    6. Drug Facts and Comparisons Online. St. Louis, MO: Wolters Kluwer Health Inc.March 2015.
    7. Lexi-Drugs Online. Lexi-Comp, Inc.; 2015.


Updated August 29, 2017 by Leslie Jensen, PharmD, Drug Information Specialist. Created April 13, 2016 by Michelle Wheeler, PharmD, Drug Information Specialist. Copyright 2017, Drug Information Service, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.