Common Brand Name(s): Blenoxane
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.
Infrequently, bleomycin can cause a serious, allergic-like reaction. It is most common in lymphoma patients. Before your main treatment with this drug begins, your doctor may direct you to receive a smaller test dose to check for signs of this serious reaction. Tell your doctor right away if any of the following serious side effects occur: dizziness/fainting, confusion, fever, chills, trouble breathing.
Severe (sometimes fatal) lung problems (lung scarring) have rarely occurred in patients using this drug. This reaction is more likely in patients older than 70 years. The risk of this reaction increases as you receive more doses of this drug. This problem may occur anytime during treatment. Tell your doctor right away if you experience any of these serious side effects: cough, fever, chills, chest pain, or difficult/painful breathing.
Bleomycin is used to treat cancer. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.
This medication may also be used to control the build-up of fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion) caused by tumors that have spread to the lungs. For this condition, bleomycin is placed in the space around the lungs through a chest tube.
How To Use
This medication is given by injection into a vein, into a muscle, or under the skin by a health care professional usually once or twice a week or as directed by your doctor. When giving this medication into a vein, it is injected slowly over 10 minutes. Tell your health care professional right away if you experience any chest pain. The medication may need to be stopped or injected more slowly. The dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to treatment.
If you are receiving this medication through a chest tube into the space around the lungs, the solution is usually left in place for 4 hours and then drained out through the chest tube. Your doctor may direct you to change positions during the 4 hours to make sure the solution treats all parts of your lungs.
See also Warning section.
Pain/redness at the injection site, fever, chills, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, darkening of the skin, or changes in fingernails/toenails may occur. Changes in diet such as eating several small meals or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. In some cases, drug treatment may be necessary to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Temporary hair loss may occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.
People using this medication may 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.
Painful sores on the lips, mouth, and throat may occur. To decrease the risk, limit hot foods and drinks, brush your teeth carefully, avoid using mouthwash that contains alcohol, and rinse your mouth frequently with cool water.
Bleomycin can commonly cause skin reactions (e.g., redness, itching, blisters, rash, swelling), usually in the second or third week of treatment. These reactions are not always serious. However, you may not be able to tell them apart from signs of a severe reaction. Therefore, tell your doctor right away if you develop any skin reaction.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
- fast/pounding heartbeat
- feeling of coldness in hands/feet
- easy bruising/bleeding
- pale/bluish skin
- coughing up blood
- vomit that looks bloody or like coffee grounds
- signs of infection (e.g., persistent sore throat)
- signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine, pink urine)
- mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion, aggression)
- persistent nausea
- stomach/abdominal pain
- dark urine
- yellowing eyes/skin
Get medical help right away if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur:
- weakness on one side of the body
- vision changes
- slurred speech
- chest pain
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:
- 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.
Before using bleomycin, 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:
- immune system problems (e.g., chemotherapy, bone marrow problems)
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- lung problems
This medication may make your lungs more sensitive to oxygen treatment. Therefore, tell your doctor or dentist that you have used this medication before having surgery or any treatment where oxygen may be used.
Kidney function declines as you grow older. This medication is removed by the kidneys. Therefore, elderly people may be at greater risk for side effects (e.g., lung problems) while using this drug.
This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It may harm the unborn baby. Consult your doctor for more details. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor right away.
It is not known whether 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 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.
Some products that may interact with this drug include:
- drugs that may harm the kidneys (for example, aminoglycosides such as gentamicin, cisplatin)
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. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., chest X-rays, complete blood counts, kidney tests, liver tests) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor to establish a new dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Not applicable. This medication is given in a hospital or clinic and will not be stored at home.
Information last revised February 2019.
Copyright(c) 2019 First Databank, Inc.
Conditions of use: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information in not intend to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects nor should it be construed in indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.