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All about: Carmustine Implantation-Local

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Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S.—

  • Gliadel Wafer

Another commonly used name is BCNU .

Category

  • Antineoplastic

Description

Carmustine (kar-MUS-teen) belongs to the group of medicines known as alkylating agents. It is used to treat certain types of brain cancer.

Carmustine interferes with the growth of cancer cells, which are eventually destroyed. Since the growth of normal body cells may also be affected by carmustine, other effects may also occur.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription, in the following dosage form(s):

  • Implantation
  • Implants (U.S.)

Before Using This Medicine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of using the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For carmustine, the following should be considered:

Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to carmustine. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.

Pregnancy—The implanted dosage form of carmustine has not been studied in pregnant women or animals. However, studies in animals have shown that carmustine in other dosage forms causes birth defects and other problems. Be sure that you have discussed this before receiving this medicine. Tell your doctor right away if you think you have become pregnant while receiving carmustine.

Breast-feeding—It is not known if carmustine or the components of the wafer pass into the breast milk. However, carmustine is not recommended during breast-feeding, because it may cause unwanted effects in nursing babies.

Children—Studies on this medicine have been done only in adult patients, and there is no specific information comparing use of carmustine in children with use in other age groups.

Older adults—Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of carmustine in the elderly with its use in younger adults.

Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of carmustine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

It is important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

Blood in urine; burning, painful, or difficult urination; convulsions (seizures); fever; inability to move legs or arms; lower back or side pain

Less common

Confusion; extremely severe sleepiness; headache; nausea and vomiting; pain; problems in speaking; rash; stiff neck

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

More common

Drowsiness

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

Developed: 08/12/1998

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