BCNU : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More

IMPORTANT WARNING:

BCNU (Carmustine) can cause a severe decrease in the number of blood cells in your bone marrow. This increases your risk of developing a serious infection or bleeding. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: fever, sore throat, chills, or other signs of infection; unusual bleeding or bruising; black, tarry stools; red blood in the stool; vomit with blood; vomited material that looks like coffee grounds.

BCNU can also cause lung damage, even years after treatment. Lung damage can cause death, especially in patients treated with BCNU as children. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had lung disease.

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain tests to check your body’s response to BCNU.

Why is this medication prescribed?

BCNU (Carmustine) injection is used to treat certain types of brain tumors. BCNU injection is also used together with prednisone to treat multiple myeloma (a type of cancer of the bone marrow). It is also used with other medications to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma (Hodgkin’s disease) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system) that has not improved or that has worsened after treatment with other medications. BCNU belongs to a class of medications called alkylating agents. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells in your body.

How should this medicine be used?

BCNU injection comes as a powder that is added to liquid and injected over at least 2 hours intravenously (into a vein) by a doctor or nurse in a doctor’s office or hospital outpatient clinic. It is usually injected once every 6 weeks. It can also be injected in smaller doses once a day for 2 days in a row every 6 weeks.

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Your doctor may need to delay your treatment or adjust your dose if you experience certain side effects. It is important that you tell your doctor how you feel during your treatment with BCNU.

Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.

Other uses for this medicine

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before receiving BCNU injection,

  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to BCNU or any of the ingredients in BCNU injection. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: cimetidine (Tagamet) and phenytoin (Dilantin). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you closely for side effects. Other medications can also interact with BCNU, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney or liver disease.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. You should not become pregnant while receiving BCNU injection. If you become pregnant while receiving BCNU, call your doctor. BCNU can harm the fetus.

What side effects can this medication cause?

BCNU may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • loss of balance or coordination
  • pale skin
  • fainting
  • dizziness
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • chest pain
  • darkened skin
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Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:

  • swelling, pain, redness, or burning at the injection site
  • upset stomach
  • extreme tiredness or weakness
  • lack of energy
  • loss of appetite
  • pain in the upper right part of the stomach
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • decreased urination
  • swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs

BCNU injection can cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medicine.

BCNU can increase your risk of developing other cancers. Talk to your doctor about the risks of receiving BCNU injection.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor can submit a report online to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim collapsed, had a seizure, is having trouble breathing, or cannot wake up, immediately call 911 for emergency services.

What other information should I know?

It is important that you keep a written list of all prescription and over-the-counter (over-the-counter) medications you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you every time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to take with you in case of emergencies.

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Brand Names

  • BiCNU®

Other Names

  • BCNU

Disclaimer: DrLinex has made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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