Generic Name: vincristine
- What is vincristine?
- What are the possible side effects of vincristine?
- What is the most important information I should know about vincristine?
- What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving vincristine?
- How is vincristine given?
- What happens if I miss a dose?
- What happens if I overdose?
- What should I avoid while receiving vincristine?
- What other drugs will affect vincristine?
- Where can I get more information?
What is vincristine?
Vincristine is cancer medication that interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their spread in the body.
Vincristine is used to treat leukemia, Hodgkin's disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, rhabdomyosarcoma (soft tissue tumors), neuroblastoma (cancer that forms in nerve tissue), and Wilms' tumor.
Vincristine is sometimes used in combination with other cancer medications.
Vincristine may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What are the possible side effects of vincristine?
Get emergency medical help if you have any signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- bronchospasm (wheezing, chest tightness, trouble breathing);
- signs of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, swollen gums, painful mouth sores, cold or flu symptoms;
- problems with vision, hearing, speech, swallowing, walking, or daily activities;
- numbness, burning, pain, or tingly feeling; or
- severe constipation, severe bloating or stomach pain, bloody or tarry stools.
Common side effects may include:
- temporary hair loss;
- decreased weight with loss of muscle tissue;
- diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite; or
- weight loss.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What is the most important information I should know about vincristine?
You should not use this medication if you have a nerve-muscle disorder, such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome, myasthenia gravis, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), multiple sclerosis, or muscular dystrophy.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving vincristine?
You should not use this medication if you are allergic to it, or if you have a nerve-muscle disorder such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome, myasthenia gravis, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), multiple sclerosis, or muscular dystrophy.
To make sure vincristine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- liver disease;
- breathing problems;
- epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
- a bacterial infection;
- a blockage in your intestines; or
- coronary artery disease.
Do not use vincristine if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control to avoid pregnancy during your treatment with vincristine. Follow your doctor's instructions about how long to prevent pregnancy after your treatment ends.
It is not known whether vincristine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How is vincristine given?
Vincristine is injected into a vein through an IV. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.
Vincristine is usually given once per week. Follow your doctor's instructions.
Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when the medicine is injected.
Vincristine can cause severe constipation. You may be given medication to prevent constipation while you are receiving this medicine. Use all medications as directed by your doctor.
You may need frequent medical tests to be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your vincristine injection.
What happens if I overdose?
Since vincristine is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.
What should I avoid while receiving vincristine?
Avoid being near people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses. Contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.
This medicine can pass into body fluids (urine, feces, vomit). For at least 48 hours after you receive a dose, avoid allowing your body fluids to come into contact with your hands or other surfaces. Caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up a patient's body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.
Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using vincristine, or you could develop a serious infection. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), rotavirus, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine.
What other drugs will affect vincristine?
Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with vincristine, especially:
- an antibiotic--clarithromycin, telithromycin;
- antifungal medication--itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole;
- hepatitis C medicines--boceprevir, telaprevir; or
- HIV or AIDS medication--atazanavir, cobicistat, delavirdine, fosamprenavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with vincristine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
Where can I get more information?
Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about vincristine.
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