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Velban Side Effects

Generic Name: vinblastine

Note: This page contains side effects data for the generic drug vinblastine. It is possible that some of the dosage forms included below may not apply to the brand name Velban.

For the Consumer

Applies to vinblastine: intravenous powder for solution, intravenous solution

Along with their needed effects, medicines like vinblastine (the active ingredient contained in Velban) can sometimes cause unwanted effects such as blood problems, loss of hair, and other side effects. These and other effects 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.

Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Major Side Effects

If any of the following side effects occur while taking vinblastine, check with your doctor immediately:

More frequent
  • Cough or hoarseness accompanied by fever or chills
  • fever or chills
  • lower back or side pain accompanied by fever or chills
  • painful or difficult urination accompanied by fever or chills
Less common:
  • Blood in urine or stools
  • pain or redness at place of injection
  • pinpoint red spots on skin
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Black, tarry stools

Severity: Moderate

If any of the following side effects occur while taking vinblastine, check with your doctor or nurse as soon as possible:

Less common:
  • Joint pain
  • sores in mouth and on lips
  • swelling of feet or lower legs
  • Difficulty in walking
  • dizziness
  • double vision
  • drooping eyelids
  • headache
  • jaw pain
  • mental depression
  • numbness or tingling in fingers and toes
  • pain in fingers and toes
  • pain in testicles
  • weakness

Minor Side Effects

Some vinblastine side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned about them:

Less common:
  • Bone or muscle pain
  • nausea and vomiting

This medicine often causes a temporary loss of hair. After treatment with vinblastine has ended, or sometimes even during treatment, normal hair growth should return.

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to vinblastine: intravenous powder for injection, intravenous solution


Leukopenia, the most common adverse reaction, is usually the dose-limiting factor. Septicemia associated with leukopenia has been reported. Anemia and thrombocytopenia have been reported infrequently.[Ref]


Another possible dose limiting adverse reaction is leukemia, which has been reported following radiation and vinblastine (the active ingredient contained in Velban) used in combination with agents known to intercalate with DNA.[Ref]


A common dermatologic side effect is alopecia. A case of light sensitivity has also been reported.[Ref]

When alopecia has developed, it has frequently not been total. In some cases, hair has regrown while maintenance therapy was continued.[Ref]


The nausea and vomiting caused by vinblastine (the active ingredient contained in Velban) is usually easily controlled by antiemetic agents.[Ref]

Gastrointestinal side effects including constipation, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, ileus, stomatitis, vesiculation of the mouth, pharyngitis, diarrhea, hemorrhagic enterocolitis, bleeding from an old peptic ulcer, and rectal bleeding have been reported.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects are dose related and are rare with standard dosages. Side effects including paresthesias (generally of fingers), loss of deep tendon reflexes, peripheral neuritis, mental depression, headache, and convulsions have been reported. Vestibular and auditory damage to the eighth cranial nerve has been reported rarely in patients treated with vinca alkaloids. Manifestations include deafness and difficulties with balance including dizziness, nystagmus, and vertigo. (Caution is advised if vinblastine (the active ingredient contained in Velban) is used in combination with other ototoxic agents.)[Ref]


Myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular accidents and Raynaud's phenomenon have been reported in patients receiving combination chemotherapy (which also included bleomycin and cisplatin). Orthostatic hypotension and pericarditis have also been reported.[Ref]


Progressive dyspnea requiring chronic therapy may occur.[Ref]

Pulmonary dysfunction including acute shortness of breath and severe bronchospasm have been reported following the administration of vinca alkaloids (most frequently when used in combination with mitomycin-c). Pulmonary edema has rarely been reported.[Ref]


Other effects including malaise, bone pain, weakness, pain in tumor-containing tissue, dizziness, jaw pain, myalgia, rhabdomyolysis, urinary retention, skin vesiculation, ototoxicity, and the syndrome of inappropriate secretion of antidiuretic hormone have been reported. Amenorrhea and azoospermia have been reported in patients receiving combination chemotherapy (which also included an alkylating agent, procarbazine, and prednisone).[Ref]


1. Neville AJ Rand CA Barr RD "Vinblastine-induced erythrocytotoxicity." Scand J Haematol 28 (1982): 32-8

2. "Product Information. Velban (vinblastine)." Lilly, Eli and Company, Indianapolis, IN.

3. Young JA, Howell SB, Green MR "Pharmacokinetics and toxicity of 5-day continuous infusion of vinblastine." Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 12 (1984): 43-5

4. Chong CD Logothetis CJ Savaraj N Fritsche HA Gietner AM Samuels ML "The correlation of vinblastine pharmacokinetics to toxicity in testicular cancer patients." J Clin Pharmacol 28 (1988): 714-8

5. Moss PE, Hickman S, Harrison BR "Ototoxicity associated with vinblastine." Ann Pharmacother 33 (1999): 423-5

It is possible that some side effects of Velban may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.