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Vincristine by Teva Canada Limited
How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Vincristine belongs to the group of cancer-fighting medications known as antineoplastics. It causes the death of cancer cells by interfering with the genetic material DNA, which is necessary for their growth and reproduction.
Vincristine is used alone or in combination with other antineoplastic medications to treat many different types of cancer, including leukemia (cancer of white blood cells), lymphoma (cancer of the lymph cells), breast cancer, lung cancer, malignant melanoma, cancer of the cervix, colorectal cancer, and Wilms’ tumor.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each mL contains vincristine sulfate 1 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: mannitol 100 mg and Water for Injection q.s. Sodium hydroxide and/or sulphuric acid are used for pH adjustment.
How should I use this medication?
The recommended dose and dosing schedule of vincristine varies according to the specific type of cancer being treated, the response to therapy, and the other drugs or treatments being used. The dose administered is also based on body size.
Vincristine is injected into a vein through a specially prepared site on your skin that has been prepared for this purpose. It is usually scheduled to be given on a weekly basis. Very careful handling of this medication is required. It is always given under the supervision of a doctor in a hospital or similar setting with access to sterile equipment for preparation.
As well as interfering with the genetic material DNA of cancer cells, vincristine can interfere with some of your normal cells. This can cause a number of side effects such as hair loss. Vincristine sometimes causes mild nausea and vomiting, but it is important to keep using this medication even if you feel ill.
Your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist can advise you on how to reduce the effects of nausea and vomiting. Your doctor may want you to drink extra fluids while using this medication to prevent kidney problems. Keep track of any side effects and report them to your doctor as suggested in the section "What side effects are possible with this medication?"
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss an appointment to receive vincristine, contact your doctor as soon as possible to reschedule your appointment.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not use this medication if you:
- are allergic to vincristine or any ingredients of this medication
- have a particular form (called the "demyelinating form") of a condition called Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome
What side effects are possible with this medication?
- nausea and vomiting
- skin rash
- temporary loss of hair
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
Get medical help immediately if any of the following occur:
- black, tarry stools or blood in urine or stools
- cough or hoarseness
- fever or chills
- pain or redness at injection site
- pinpoint red spots on skin
- unusual bleeding or bruising
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Blood clotting: Medications that fight cancer may reduce the number of platelet cells in the blood. Platelets help the blood to clot, and a shortage could make you bleed more easily. Tell your doctor of any signs that your blood is not clotting as quickly. Such symptoms may include black and tarry stools, blood in the urine, easy bruising, or cuts that won’t stop bleeding.
Gout and kidney stones: Vincristine may increase the levels of uric acid in the body, which can increase the risk for gout or kidney stones for people already at risk of these conditions. Talk to your doctor to find out whether you are at risk.
Infection: As well as killing cancer cells, medications that fight cancer may reduce the number of cells that fight infection in the body (white blood cells). Avoid contact with people with contagious infections and tell your doctor if you begin to notice signs of an infection, such as fever or chills.
Liver function: Decreased liver function or liver disease can cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have reduced liver function, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. If you experience symptoms of liver problems such as fatigue, feeling unwell, loss of appetite, nausea, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine, pale stools, abdominal pain or swelling, and itchy skin, contact your doctor immediately.
Pregnancy: There is a possibility of birth defect if either partner is using vincristine at the time of conception, or if it is taken during pregnancy. It may also harm the baby in other ways if used during pregnancy. Use effective birth control while you are taking this medication, and tell the doctor immediately if you become pregnant.
Breast-feeding: It is not known whether vincristine passes into breast milk. Because of the risk of harm to the infant, women should not breast-feed while receiving vincristine.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between vincristine and any of the following:
- "azole" antifungals (e.g., fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole)
- calcium channel blockers (e.g., diltiazem, nifedipine, verapamil)
- grapefruit juice
- HIV protease inhibitors (e.g., atazanavir, darunavir, lopinavir, ritonavir)
- lumacaftor and ivacaftor
- protein kinase inhibitors (e.g., crizotinib, idelalisib, imatinib, nilotinib)
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2022. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/drug/getdrug/Vincristine-by-Teva-Canada-Limited