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Vincristine

Generic Name: vincristine (vin KRIS teen)
Brand Name: Oncovin, Vincasar PFS

Medically reviewed on August 6, 2018

What is vincristine?

Vincristine is cancer medication that interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their spread in the body.

Vincristine is used to treat leukemia, Hodgkin's disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, rhabdomyosarcoma (soft tissue tumors), neuroblastoma (cancer that forms in nerve tissue), and Wilms' tumor.

Vincristine is sometimes used in combination with other cancer medications.

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

Important Information

You should not use this medication if you have a nerve-muscle disorder, such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome, myasthenia gravis, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), multiple sclerosis, or muscular dystrophy.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to it, or if you have a nerve-muscle disorder such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome, myasthenia gravis, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), multiple sclerosis, or muscular dystrophy.

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

Do not use vincristine if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control to avoid pregnancy during your treatment with vincristine. Follow your doctor's instructions about how long to prevent pregnancy after your treatment ends.

It is not known whether vincristine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How is vincristine given?

Vincristine is injected into a vein through an IV. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Vincristine is usually given once per week. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when the medicine is injected.

Vincristine can cause severe constipation. You may be given medication to prevent constipation while you are receiving vincristine. Use all medications as directed by your doctor.

You may need frequent medical tests to be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your vincristine injection.

What happens if I overdose?

Since vincristine is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid while receiving vincristine?

Avoid being near people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses. Contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

vincristine 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.

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using vincristine, or you could develop a serious infection. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), rotavirus, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine.

Vincristine side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • bronchospasm (wheezing, chest tightness, trouble breathing);

  • signs of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, swollen gums, painful mouth sores, cold or flu symptoms;

  • problems with vision, hearing, speech, swallowing, walking, or daily activities;

  • numbness, burning, pain, or tingly feeling; or

  • severe constipation, severe bloating or stomach pain, bloody or tarry stools.

Common side effects may include:

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 vincristine?

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

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with vincristine, 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.

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