Melphalan

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Warning

Although melphalan is used to treat cancer, it may rarely increase your risk of developing other cancers. Also, melphalan may cause a severe decrease in your blood cells, which lowers your ability to fight infections and increases the risk of anemia/bleeding problems. You may be more likely to get a serious (rarely fatal) infection or any infection you have may get worse. Tell your doctor right away if you develop unusual growths or lumps, swollen glands, signs of infection (such as a sore throat that doesn't go away, fever, chills), easy or unusual bruising/bleeding, or unusual tiredness.

Taking melphalan during pregnancy may increase the risk of birth defects. Also, it may make it harder for men or women to have a child (decreased fertility) after treatment.

Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of treatment with this medication.

Precautions

Before taking melphalan, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to chlorambucil; 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, kidney problems, radiation treatment.

Melphalan can make you more likely to get infections or may worsen any current infections. Avoid contact with people who have infections that may spread to others (such as chickenpox, measles, flu). Consult your doctor if you have been exposed to an infection or for more details.

Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor. 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 (such as prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. You should not become pregnant while you are using melphalan. Melphalan may harm an unborn baby. If you become pregnant, talk to your doctor right away about the risks and benefits of this medication.

Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs and may harm an unborn baby, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from the tablets.

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.

Side Effects

See also Warning section.

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lip/mouth sores, and loss of appetite 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.

Temporary hair loss may occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.

Many people using this medication have serious side effects. However, your doctor has prescribed this drug because he or she 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, such as: shortness of breath, stopped menstrual periods (women), symptoms of liver problems (such as stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine).

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, such as: 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.

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Information expires June 2016.