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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: TheraCys, Tice BCG Vaccine

Generic Name: BCG (Pronunciation: bee cee jee)

What is BCG (TheraCys, Tice BCG Vaccine)?

BCG (Bacillus Calmette and Guérin) is made using the organisms of a bacteria.

This medication is injected directly into the bladder, where it causes inflammation and increases certain white blood cells known as natural killer cells. These killer cells act to destroy invading cells such as tumor cells in the bladder.

BCG is used to treat bladder cancer that is localized (has not spread to other parts of the body).

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

What are the possible side effects of BCG (TheraCys, Tice BCG Vaccine)?

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

Report any side effects to your doctor. Some side effects may be serious, including:

  • fever, chills, cough, body aches, joint pain, weakness, vomiting, or other flu symptoms;
  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, jaundice (yellowing of your skin or eyes);
  • pain or burning when you urinate;
  • difficult urination;
  • more frequent or urgent urinating;
  • blood in your urine, lower back pain;
  • pain or swelling in your testicles;
  • easy bruising or bleeding;
  • eye pain, redness, watering, severe burning or itching; or
  • vision changes, increased sensitivity to light.

Less serious side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about BCG (TheraCys, Tice BCG Vaccine)?

You should not be treated with this medication if you are allergic to BCG, or if you have tuberculosis, a fever, a bladder infection, blood in your urine, or a weak immune system (caused by certain drugs or disease such as AIDS, leukemia, or lymphoma).

You should also not receive BCG if you have had a bladder biopsy, surgery, or catheter within the past 14 days.

Before you receive BCG, tell your doctor if you are allergic to latex rubber, or if you have myasthenia gravis, a pacemaker or other artificial heart device, an artificial joint or other prosthetic, or any type of infection (including HIV).

Also tell your doctor if you have ever had tuberculosis, bypass surgery, or an aneurysm (dilated blood vessel), or if you currently need to have an organ transplant (kidney, liver, heart, etc).

Your doctor may ask you to drink extra fluids for several hours after your BCG treatment to help flush out your bladder. Follow your doctor's instructions about the type and amount of liquids you should drink.

Call your doctor right away if you have a fever after receiving BCG, especially if the fever lasts for several hours or longer.

Antibiotics can make BCG less effective and should be avoided during your treatment with BCG. If you have an infection that must be treated with an antibiotic, you may need to stop receiving BCG for a short time. Follow your doctor's instructions and be sure to tell any other doctor who treats you that you are receiving BCG.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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