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Carmustine - Injection

Pronunciation: kar-MUS-teen

Common Brand Name(s): BiCNU

Important: How To Use This Information

This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.

Warning

Carmustine may cause serious bleeding/blood problems. This effect can cause anemia, lower your body's ability to fight an infection, or cause your body to bruise or bleed more easily. Your doctor will check you closely during and for at least 6 weeks after treatment to lessen the chance of serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if you develop symptoms such as easy bruising/bleeding, unusual tiredness, signs of infection (such as sore throat that doesn't go away, fever, chills).

This medication may also cause very serious (possibly fatal) lung problems. The risk increases after receiving higher total doses and can occur years after treatment. Tell your doctor right away if you develop symptoms such as cough that doesn't go away, shortness of breath, chest pain, unusual weakness/tiredness.

Uses

This medication is used to treat certain types of cancer (including multiple myeloma, brain tumor, Hodgkin's disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma). Carmustine belongs to a class of drugs known as alkylating agents. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.

How To Use

This medication is given by slow injection into a vein by a health care professional. It is given as directed by your doctor, usually every 6 weeks. The dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to treatment.

Side Effects

See also Warning section.

Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, headache, flushing, eye redness, or pain at the injection site may occur. Nausea and vomiting can be severe. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Eating several small meals, not eating before treatment, or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

People using this medication may have serious side effects. However, you have been prescribed this drug because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Careful monitoring by your doctor may decrease your risk.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:

  • signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine)
  • signs of liver problems (such as nausea/vomiting that doesn't stop, loss of appetite, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine)
  • vision changes

People who are treated with this medication may rarely get other cancers. Consult your doctor for more details.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:

  • rash
  • itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat)
  • severe dizziness
  • trouble breathing

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Precautions

Before using carmustine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:

  • bleeding/blood problems
  • current/recent/returning infection
  • kidney disease
  • liver problems
  • lung disease

Carmustine can make you more likely to get infections or may make current infections worse. Stay away from anyone who has an infection that may easily spread (such as chickenpox, COVID-19, measles, flu). Talk to your doctor if you have been exposed to an infection or for more details.

Tell your health care professional that you are using carmustine before having any immunizations/vaccinations. Avoid contact with people who have recently received live vaccines (such as flu vaccine inhaled through the nose).

To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

Children may be at greater risk for developing serious lung problems after receiving this medication.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not become pregnant while using carmustine. Carmustine may harm an unborn baby. Women using this medication should ask about reliable forms of birth control during treatment and for 6 months after the last dose. Men using this medication should ask about reliable forms of birth control during treatment and for 3 months after the last dose. If you or your partner becomes pregnant, talk to your doctor right away about the risks and benefits of this medication.

It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Drug Interactions

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

Overdose

If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Alberta residents can call PADIS (Poison and Drug Information Service) 24 hours a day at 1-800-332-1414. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.

Notes

Lab and/or medical tests (such as complete blood count, kidney/liver/lung function) should be done while you are using this medication. Keep all medical and lab appointments.

Missed Dose

It is important to get each dose of this medication as scheduled. If you miss a dose, ask your doctor or pharmacist right away for a new dosing schedule.

If you have questions about missing a dose or you don't have more medication, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Storage

Not applicable. This medication is given in a clinic and will not be stored at home.

Medical Alert

Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

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