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Understanding Lung Cancer Medications (cont.)

Vinca Alkaloids

Vinca alkaloids include vincristine (Oncovin) and vinorelbine (Navelbine).

  • Who should not use these medications: Persons with the following conditions should not take vinca alkaloids:
    • Allergy to vinca alkaloids
    • Demyelinating Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome
  • Schedule: Vinca alkaloids are administered by IV injection on the first day of each chemotherapy cycle. They may not be given by intrathecal injection (that is, into a cavity within the brain).
  • Drug or food interactions: The risk of vinca alkaloids further reducing blood cell counts and causing anemia or bleeding may increase when they are used with other chemotherapy drugs. Anthracyclines may delay the effects of blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), or platelet (cells in blood that help clotting) inhibitors, such as aspirin. Phenytoin (Dilantin) and carbamazepine (Tegretol) may decrease the effectiveness of vinca alkaloids. Other drugs, such as fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), or voriconazole (Vfend), may increase vinca alkaloid toxicity.
  • Side effects: Vinca alkaloids may cause a person to bleed or to develop infections more easily. A doctor will check blood and urine for abnormalities that may be caused by these drugs.
    • A doctor should be contacted immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
      • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or faintness
      • Pain during urination or trouble with bladder control
      • Severe muscle or bone pain
      • Severe stomach pain or constipation
      • Blurred vision
      • Redness, pain, or swelling where the IV is given
      • Unexplained fever, chills, or sore throat
      • Unusual bleeding or bruising
      • Bloody urine, bowel movement, or vomit
      • Difficulty walking
    • Other side effects include the following:
      • Constipation
      • Hair loss
      • Headache
      • Nausea or vomiting
      • Mild numbness or tingling in feet or hands

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/9/2014
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