Melphalan Side Effects
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on July 10, 2020.
For the Consumer
Applies to melphalan: oral tablet
Other dosage forms:
Oral route (Tablet)
Severe bone marrow suppression with resulting infection or bleeding may occur. Melphalan is leukemogenic in humans. Melphalan produces chromosomal aberrations in vitro and in vivo and, therefore, should be considered potentially mutagenic in humans.
Along with their needed effects, medicines like melphalan can sometimes cause unwanted effects such as blood problems and other side effects. These and others are described below. 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.
Side effects requiring immediate medical attention
Along with its needed effects, melphalan 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 immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking melphalan:
- Black, tarry stools
- blood in urine or stools
- cough or hoarseness, accompanied by fever or chills
- fast or irregular heart beat
- fever or chills
- lower back or side pain, accompanied by fever or chills
- painful or difficult urination, accompanied by fever or chills
- pinpoint red spots on skin
- shortness of breath
- skin rash or itching (sudden)
- troubled breathing
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- difficulty swallowing
- joint pain
- redness and/or soreness in arm or leg
- sores in the mouth and on the lips
- swelling of the feet or lower legs
Side effects not requiring immediate medical attention
Some side effects of melphalan 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:
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to melphalan: intravenous powder for injection, oral tablet
Frequency not reported: Secondary malignancies (e.g., acute nonlymphocytic leukemia, myeloproliferative syndrome, carcinoma[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Alopecia (at high dose)
Common (1% to 10%): Alopecia (at conventional dose)
Rare (less than 0.1%): Maculopapular rash, pruritus
Frequency not reported: Skin hypersensitivity, skin necrosis (rarely requiring skin grafting)[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomatitis (at high dose)
Rare (less than 0.1%): Stomatitis (at conventional dose)[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Warmth, tingling
Frequency not reported: Chromosome damage[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Temporary significant elevation of the blood urea has been seen in the early stages of therapy with this drug in myeloma patients with renal damage[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Skin ulceration at injection site[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Muscle atrophy, muscle fibrosis, myalgia, blood creatine phosphokinase increased
Common (1% to 10%): Compartment syndrome
Frequency not reported: Muscle necrosis, rhabdomyolysis[Ref]
1. "Product Information. Alkeran (melphalan)." ApoPharma USA Inc, Rockville, MD.
2. "Product Information. Melphalan (melphalan)." Actavis U.S. (Alpharma USPD), Owings Mills, MD.
More about melphalan
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- Drug class: alkylating agents
- Patient Information
- Melphalan (Advanced Reading)
- Melphalan Intravenous (Advanced Reading)
- Melphalan Tablets
- Melphalan Injection
Related treatment guides
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.