Common Brand Name(s): Alkeran
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.
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.
Melphalan may cause a serious allergic reaction. Get medical help right away if you develop rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.
This medication is used to treat certain types of cancer (such as multiple myeloma, ovarian). Melphalan is also used as a pretreatment for people who are undergoing a stem cell transplant for multiple myeloma. Melphalan belongs to a class of drugs known as alkylating agents. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.
How To Use
Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start using melphalan and each time you receive this medication. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
This medication is given by a health care professional. It is injected slowly into a vein over 15 to 30 minutes.
The dosage and treatment schedule are based on your medical condition, lab tests, and response to treatment.
You should receive this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, mark your calendar to keep track of when to receive the next dose.
It may take several months before you see a benefit from this drug.
See also Warning section.
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lip/mouth sores, or 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.
Pain or sores in the mouth and throat may occur. Brush your teeth carefully/gently, avoid using mouthwash that contains alcohol, and rinse your mouth often with cool water mixed with baking soda or salt. It may also be best to eat soft, moist foods.
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.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
- shortness of breath
- signs of liver disease (such as nausea/vomiting that doesn't stop, loss of appetite, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine)
This medication can affect sperm production, an effect that may lower male fertility. This medication may also lower female fertility. 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:
- 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 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. Men and women should ask about reliable forms of birth control while using this medication. If you or your partner become 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 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.
A product that may interact with this drug is:
- nalidixic acid
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.
Lab and/or medical tests (such as complete blood count, liver function) should be done while you are using this medication. Keep all medical and lab appointments.
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 or pharmacist right away 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.
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).
Information last revised August 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.