Bleomycin Side Effects
Commonly reported side effects of bleomycin include: pulmonary toxicity. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.
For the Consumer
Applies to bleomycin: injection powder for solution
Injection route (Powder for Solution)
Pulmonary fibrosis is the most severe toxicity for bleomycin and its most frequent presentation is pneumonitis occasionally progressing to pulmonary fibrosis. Its occurrence is higher in elderly patients and in those receiving greater than 400 units total dose, but pulmonary toxicity has been observed in young patients and those treated with low doses. A severe idiosyncratic reaction consisting of hypotension, mental confusion, fever, chills, and wheezing has been reported in lymphoma patients treated with bleomycin.
Side effects requiring immediate medical attention
Along with its needed effects, bleomycin may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Also, because of the way these medicines act on the body, there is a chance that they might cause other unwanted effects that may not occur until months or years after the medicine is used. These delayed effects may include certain types of cancer, such as leukemia. Discuss these possible effects with your doctor.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking bleomycin:
- Fever and chills (occurring within 3 to 6 hours after a dose)
- Chest pain (sudden severe)
- weakness in arms or legs (sudden)
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur while taking bleomycin:
- shortness of breath
- sores in mouth and on lips
Side effects not requiring immediate medical attention
Some side effects of bleomycin 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:
- Darkening or thickening of skin
- dark stripes on skin
- itching of skin
- skin rash or colored bumps on fingertips, elbows, or palms
- skin redness or tenderness
- swelling of fingers
- vomiting and loss of appetite
- Changes in fingernails or toenails
- weight loss
Bleomycin may cause a temporary loss of hair in some people. After treatment has ended, normal hair growth should return, although it may take several months.
Side effects that affect your lungs (for example, cough and shortness of breath) may be more likely to occur if you smoke.
After you stop using this medicine, it may still produce some side effects that need attention. During this period of time, Check with your doctor immediately if you notice the following side effects:
- shortness of breath
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to bleomycin: injectable powder for injection
Very common (10% or more): Interstitial pneumonia (10%), pulmonary fibrosis (10%)
Common (1% to 10%): Wheezing[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Sclerosis of the skin (41%), pigmentation disorder (41%), alopecia (30%), nail deformation (11%), nail discoloration, skin hypertrophy, flagellate dermatitis
Skin toxicity is a relatively late manifestation, usually developing in the 2nd and 3rd week of treatment, after a cumulative dose of 150 to 200 units.[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Angular cheilitis
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Shock, vein wall hypertrophy, venous stenosis
Very common (10% or more): Fever/pyrexia (40%), malaise (16%)[Ref]
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Injection site induration
Frequency not reported: Injection site thrombosis (IV), injection site pain[Ref]
The most frequent mutations produced in mammalian cells are large multilocus deletions, which probably arise by misrepair of (DNA) double strand breaks.[Ref]
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Tumor pain[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Hemorrhage
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Leucopenia
Frequency not reported: Sepsis
Very common (10% or more): Scleroderma, chills
Very common (10% or more): Anorexia (29%), weight loss (29%)
Common (1% to 10%): Mental confusion
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hepatocellular injury
Very common (10% or more): Rigors (40%)
Common (1% to 10%): Headache
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Dizziness
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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.
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- Drug class: antibiotics/antineoplastics
Other brands: Blenoxane