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Gliadel Side Effects

Generic Name: carmustine

Note: This document contains side effect information about carmustine. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Gliadel.

For the Consumer

Applies to carmustine: implantation implant

Other dosage forms:

Along with its needed effects, carmustine (the active ingredient contained in Gliadel) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking carmustine:

More Common

  • Blurred vision
  • change in ability to see colors, especially blue or yellow
  • confusion
  • fever
  • headache
  • nausea and vomiting
  • problems with movement, walking, or speech
  • seizures
  • trouble healing

Less Common

  • Drowsiness
  • general feeling of illness
  • severe headache
  • stiff neck or back

Some side effects of carmustine 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:

More Common

  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • back pain
  • bladder pain
  • bloody or cloudy urine
  • difficult, burning, or painful urination
  • difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
  • discouragement
  • feeling sad or empty
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • irritability
  • lack of appetite
  • lack or loss of strength
  • loss of interest or pleasure
  • lower back or side pain
  • tiredness
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble sleeping

Less Common

  • Chest pain

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to carmustine: implant device, intravenous powder for injection

Respiratory

Common (1% to 10%): Pneumonia, pulmonary embolism

Frequency not reported: Pulmonary toxicity (IV formulation)[Ref]

Hematologic

Frequency not reported: Myelosuppression (IV formulation)[Ref]

Gastrointestinal

Very common (10% or more): Nausea, vomiting, constipation

Common (1% to 10%): Abdominal pain

Postmarketing reports: Diarrhea, anorexia[Ref]

Hepatic

Postmarketing reports: Increased transaminase, increased alkaline phosphatase, increased bilirubin[Ref]

Renal

Postmarketing reports: Progressive azotemia, decrease in kidney size, renal failure[Ref]

Cardiovascular

Postmarketing reports: Tachycardia, chest pain, Veno-occlusive disease[Ref]

Local

Frequency not reported: Administration reactions (IV formulation)

Postmarketing reports: Burning sensation[Ref]

Other

Very common (10% or more): Asthenia, fever

Common (1% to 10%): Chest pain

Frequency not reported: Wafer migration (wafer formulation)[Ref]

Ocular

Frequency not reported: Ocular toxicity (IV formulation)

Postmarketing reports: Conjunctival edema, conjunctival hemorrhage, blurred vision, loss of depth perception[Ref]

Oncologic

Postmarketing reports: Acute leukemia, bone marrow dysplasia[Ref]

Immunologic

Very common (10% or more): Impaired neurosurgical wound healing (wafer formulation) (16%)

Common (1% to 10%): Meningitis (wafer formulation)

Postmarketing reports: Opportunistic infection (sometimes fatal)

Musculoskeletal

Common (1% to 10%): Back pain

Metabolic

Postmarketing reports: Diabetes mellitus

Psychiatric

Very common (10% or more): Confusion, depression

Common (1% to 10%): Anxiety, thinking abnormal, hallucinations, insomnia, personality disorder

Genitourinary

Very common (10% or more): Urinary tract infection

Nervous system

(wafer formulation) (23%), aphasia, somnolence, speech disorder

Common (1% to 10%): Intracranial hypertension (wafer formulation), brain abscess (wafer formulation), brain cyst (wafer formulation), hydrocephalus (wafer formulation), cerebral edema (wafer formulation), amnesia, facial paralysis, ataxia, hypesthesia, paresthesia, abnormal gait, dizziness, tremor, coma, hypokinesia

Postmarketing reports: Headache, encephalopathy

Dermatologic

Very common (10% or more): Rash

Postmarketing reports: Hyperpigmentation, swelling, erythema, skin necrosis, alopecia, allergic reaction

References

1. "Multum Information Services, Inc. Expert Review Panel"

2. O'Driscoll BR, Kalra S, Gattamaneni HR, Woodcock AA "Late carmustine lung fibrosis. Age at treatment may influence severity and survival." Chest 107 (1995): 1355-7

3. Hasleton PS, O'Driscoll BR, Lynch P, Webster A, Kalra SJ, Gattamaneini HR, Woodcock AA, Poulter LW "Late BCNU lung: a light and ultrastructural study on the delayed effect of BCNU on the lung parenchyma." J Pathol 164 (1991): 31-6

4. Lena H, Desrues B, Le Coz A, Quinquenel ML, Delaval P "Severe diffuse interstitial pneumonitis induced by carmustine (BCNU)." Chest 105 (1994): 1602-3

5. "Product Information. BiCNU (carmustine)." Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton, NJ.

6. Kanj SS, Sharara AI, Shpall EJ, Jones RB, Peters WP "Myocardial ischemia associated with high-dose carmustine infusion." Cancer 68 (1991): 1910-2

7. Mrozek-Orlowski M, Christie J, Flamme C, Novak J "Pain associated with peripheral infusion of carmustine." Oncol Nurs Forum 18 (1991): 942

8. Wiencke JK, Wiemels J "Genotoxicity of 1,3-bis(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea (BCNU)." Mutat Res 339 (1995): 91-119

Further information

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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