Posted on April 28th, 2009 by
Generic Name: vinblastine (vin-BLASS-teen), vinblastine sulfate, vincaleukoblastine, VLB
Trade Name: Velban®, Alkaban-AQ®
How is this drug used? Vinblastine is FDA approved for the treatment of advanced Hodgkin’s disease, lymphocytic lymphoma, histiocytic lymphoma, advanced Mycosis fungoides, advanced testicular cancer, Kaposi’s sarcoma, choriocarcinoma that has stopped responding to previous chemotherapy agents and advanced breast cancer that has stopped responding to surgery and hormonal therapy.
What is the mechanism of action? Vinblastine belongs to a group of drugs called anti-microtubule agents or vinca alkaloids. Vinblastine produces its anti-cancer effects by causing abnormalities in microtubule formation in cells. Microtubules are components of cells that provide structural framework that enables cells to divide and grow. The abnormal microtubule formation caused by vinblastine inhibits cellular replication and ultimately causes cell death. Vinblastine may also inhibit DNA, RNA and protein synthesis, all of which can lead to cell death.
How is vinblastine given (administered)? Vinblastine is administered into a vein (intravenous), and the dose depends on several factors, including the condition being treated, the size of the patient, the particular regimen being used, and the overall health of the patient. If vinblastine escapes from the vein in which it is administered it may cause serious damage to the tissue that it comes in contact with. Although patients will be monitored for this, they should tell their healthcare provider immediately if they experience pain, redness or swelling at the site in which the drug is being administered. In addition, patients may experience an allergic-type reaction with the administration of vinblastine. Patients experiencing shortness of breath or closing of the throat should tell their healthcare provider immediately.
How are patients monitored? Patients will usually have scheduled meetings with their healthcare provider while they are being treated with vinblastine. Typically, blood will be drawn to check levels of blood cells and to monitor functions of some organ systems, such as the kidneys or liver. Patients may also undergo physical examinations, scans or other measures to assess side effects and response to therapy. Patients are also monitored for signs of an allergic reaction (shortness of breath, closing of the throat).
What are the common (occur in 30% or more of patients) side effects of treatment with vinblastine?
What are the less common (occur in 10% to 29% of patients) side effects of treatment with vinblastine?
This is not a complete list of side effects. Some patients may experience other side effects that are not listed here. Patients may wish to discuss with their physician the other less common side effects of this drug, some of which may be serious.
Some side effects may require medical attention. Other side effects do not require medical attention and may go away during treatment. Patients should check with their physician about any side effects that continue or are bothersome.
What are the possible late side effects of treatment with vinblastine? Patients treated with vinblastine are at a slightly increased risk of developing a secondary malignancy. A secondary malignancy is a new and unrelated cancer that occurs in an individual as a result of previous treatment with radiation or chemotherapy. Patients should ask their physician about the possibility of developing a secondary malignancy as a result of their treatment.
What can patients do to help alleviate or prevent discomfort and side effects?
Are there any special precautions patients should be aware of before starting treatment?
When should patients notify their physician?
What is a package insert?
A package insert is required by the FDA and contains a summary of the essential scientific information needed for the safe and effective use of the drug for healthcare providers and consumers. A package insert typically includes information regarding specific indications, administration schedules, dosing, side effects, contraindications, results from some clinical trials, chemical structure, pharmacokinetics and metabolism of the specific drug. By carefully reviewing the package insert, you will get the most complete and current information about how to safely use this drug. If you do not have the package insert for the drug you are using, your pharmacist or physician may be able to provide you with a copy.
Last updated on 09/16.
Important Limitations of Use
The information provided above on the drug you have selected is provided for your information only and is not a substitute for consultation with an appropriate medical doctor. We are providing this information solely as a courtesy and, as such, it is in no way a recommendation as to the safety, efficacy or appropriateness of any particular drug, regimen, dosing schedule for any particular cancer, condition or patient nor is it in any way to be considered medical advice. Patients should discuss the appropriateness of a particular drug or chemotherapy regimen with their physician.
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