Medically reviewed on September 19, 2017
What is BiCNU?
BiCNU is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.
BiCNU is sometimes given with other cancer medicines.
BiCNU may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
BiCNU can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. This medicine can also cause serious lung problems. You will need frequent medical tests while receiving BiCNU. Call your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding, tiredness, weakness, or breathing problems.
Before taking this medicine
You should not be treated with BiCNU if you are allergic to it.
To make sure BiCNU is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
lung disease or breathing problems;
bone marrow suppression; or
BiCNU may harm an unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are receiving this medicine.
It is not known whether carmustine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while receiving this medicine.
How is BiCNU given?
BiCNU is injected into a vein through an IV. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.
BiCNU is usually given once every 6 weeks. You may be given either a single injection, or multiple injections over a 2-day period. You may also be given medication to prevent nausea or vomiting. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.
Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning or pain around the IV needle when BiCNU is injected.
BiCNU can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. This medicine can also cause serious lung problems, especially if you receive high doses. You will need frequent medical tests to check your blood cells and lung function. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.
BiCNU can have long-lasting effects on your body. Your blood will need to be tested weekly for at least 6 weeks after each dose.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your BiCNU.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while receiving BiCNU?
BiCNU can pass into body fluids (urine, feces, vomit). For at least 48 hours after you receive a dose, avoid allowing your body fluids to come into contact with your hands or other surfaces. Caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up a patient's body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.
BiCNU side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
You may have an infusion reaction during the injection or within 2 hours afterward. This may include eye redness, skin redness, and severe warmth or tingling under your skin.
Some side effects may not occur until 4 to 6 weeks after your BiCNU injection.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
easy bruising, unusual bleeding (may last for 1 or 2 weeks);
shortness of breath (especially with exertion);
a seizure (convulsions);
a dry cough or hack, rapid but shallow breathing;
tiredness, body aches;
clubbing (widening and rounding) of your fingertips or toes;
little or no urination; or
pain, burning, swelling, or skin changes where the injection was given.
Common side effects may include:
nausea, vomiting; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect BiCNU?
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with carmustine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 7.01.
More about BiCNU (carmustine)
- BiCNU Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- Generic Availability
- Drug class: alkylating agents
Other brands: Gliadel