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Learn about Adcetris a treatment of Hodgkin Lymphoma


Generic Name: procarbazine (pro CAR ba zeen)
Brand Name: Matulane

Medically reviewed by on Aug 6, 2018 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is procarbazine?

See also: Adcetris

Procarbazine is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Procarbazine is given with other cancer medicines to treat Hodgkin's Disease (a type of blood cancer).

Procarbazine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

You should not take procarbazine if you have bone marrow suppression.

Procarbazine can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. You may get an infection or bleed more easily. Call your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding, or signs of infection (fever, chills, body aches).

Before taking this medicine

You should not take procarbazine if you are allergic to it, or if you have bone marrow suppression.

To make sure procarbazine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • kidney disease;

  • liver disease;

  • anemia (low red blood cells);

  • low levels of platelets in the blood;

  • low white blood cell counts;

  • fluid retention; or

  • if you have received other cancer medications or radiation within the past 30 days.

Do not use procarbazine if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Procarbazine can lower sperm count in men, which may affect fertility (your ability to have children).

It is not known whether procarbazine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are taking procarbazine.

How should I take procarbazine?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take procarbazine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Procarbazine can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. Your blood will need to be tested often. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

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 taking procarbazine?

Do not drink alcohol. Procarbazine can cause unpleasant side effects when you drink alcohol.

Avoid smoking during your treatment. Smoking may increase your risk of lung cancer while taking procarbazine.

Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

procarbazine can pass into body fluids (urine, feces, vomit). 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.

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using procarbazine. The vaccine may not work as well during this time, and may not fully protect you from disease. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), rotavirus, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine.

While you are taking procarbazine, you should avoid foods that are high in tyramine, including:

  • avocados, bananas, figs, papaya, raisins, and sauerkraut;

  • beef or chicken liver, meats prepared with tenderizer, bologna, pepperoni, summer sausage, game meat, meat extracts;

  • pickled or smoked fish, anchovies, dried fish, herring, caviar, shrimp paste;

  • beer (alcoholic and nonalcoholic), wine (especially red wine), champagne, sherry, vermouth, and other distilled spirits;

  • caffeine (including coffee, tea, cola), ginseng;

  • cheese -- especially aged or processed cheeses (American, blue, boursault, brie, camembert, cheddar, gruyere, mozzarella, Parmesan, Romano, Roquefort, Swiss);

  • chocolate;

  • sour cream and yogurt;

  • soy sauce, miso soup, bean curd, fava beans; or

  • yeast extracts.

Eating tyramine while you are taking procarbazine can raise your blood pressure to dangerous levels, causing life-threatening side effects.

Procarbazine 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.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • diarrhea that is watery;

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

  • numbness, burning pain, or tingly feeling;

  • confusion, hallucinations, problems with vision or speech, trouble with walking or daily activities;

  • feeling unsteady, loss of balance or coordination;

  • tremors, seizure (convulsions);

  • cough, chest pain, trouble breathing;

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;

  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;

  • white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips;

  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or

  • bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.

Common side effects may include:

  • mild nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain;

  • dry mouth, constipation, mild diarrhea;

  • mild itching or rash, temporary hair loss;

  • muscle of joint pain;

  • headache, dizziness, feeling tired;

  • urinating more than usual; or

  • changes in your menstrual periods.

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.

Procarbazine dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Hodgkin's Disease:

For administration as a single agent: To minimize the nausea and vomiting experienced by a high percentage of patients beginning procarbazine therapy, single or divided doses of 2 to 4 mg/kg/day for the first week are recommended. Daily dosage should then be maintained at 4 to 6 mg/kg/day until maximum response is obtained or until the white blood count falls below 4000 or the platelets fall below 100,000. When maximum response is obtained, the dose may be maintained at 1 to 2 mg/kg/day. Upon evidence of hematologic or other toxicity, the drug should be discontinued until there has been satisfactory recovery. After toxic side effects have subsided, therapy may then be resumed at the discretion of the physician, based on clinical evaluation and appropriate laboratory studies, at a dosage of 1 to 2 mg/kg/day.

When used in combination with other anticancer drugs, the procarbazine dose should be appropriately reduced, e.g., in the MOPP regimen, the procarbazine dose is 100 mg/m2/day for 14 days.

Usual Adult Dose for Anaplastic Astrocytoma:

60 mg/m2 orally once a day on days 8 through 21, when administered as a part of the regimen which also includes lomustine (CeeNU) and vincristine. The PCV regimen may be continued for 29 days.

Usual Adult Dose for Glioblastoma Multiforme:

60 mg/m2 orally once a day on days 8 through 21, when administered as a part of the regimen which also includes lomustine (CeeNU) and vincristine. The PCV regimen may be continued for 29 days.

What other drugs will affect procarbazine?

Taking procarbazine with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can increase these effects. Ask your doctor before taking procarbazine with a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.

Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with procarbazine, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with procarbazine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Further information

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.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.