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All about: dacarbazine

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Generic Name: dacarbazine (da CARB ah zine )
Brand Names: Dtic-Dome

What is dacarbazine?

Dacarbazine is a cancer (antineoplastic) medication. Dacarbazine interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their growth and spread in the body.

Dacarbazine is used to treat skin cancer (malignant melanoma) and Hodgkin's Disease.

Dacarbazine may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about dacarbazine?

Dacarbazine should only be administered under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider experienced in the use of cancer chemotherapeutic agents.

Serious side effects have been reported with the use of dacarbazine including: allergic reactions (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives); decreased bone marrow function and blood problems (extreme fatigue; easy bruising or bleeding; black, bloody or tarry stools; fever or chills; or signs of infection such as fever; chills, or sore throat); liver problems; severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite; and others. Talk to your doctor about the possible side effects from treatment with dacarbazine.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking dacarbazine?

Before taking dacarbazine, tell your doctor if you have poorly functioning bone marrow. You may not be able to take dacarbazine, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment.

Dacarbazine is in the FDA pregnancy category C. This means that it is unknown whether it will harm an unborn baby. Do not take dacarbazine without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant. It is not known whether dacarbazine passes into breast milk. Do not take dacarbazine without first talking to your doctor if you are breast feeding a baby.

How should I take dacarbazine?

Dacarbazine should only be administered under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider experienced in the use of cancer chemotherapeutic agents.

Your doctor will determine the correct amount and frequency of treatment with dacarbazine depending upon the type of cancer being treated and other factors. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns regarding the treatment schedule.

Your doctor will probably want you to have regularly scheduled blood tests and other medical evaluations during treatment with dacarbazine to monitor progress and side effects.

Your healthcare provider will store dacarbazine as directed by the manufacturer. If you are storing dacarbazine at home, follow the directions provided by your healthcare provider.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you miss a dose of dacarbazine.

What happens if I overdose?

If for any reason an overdose of dacarbazine is suspected, seek emergency medical attention or contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Symptoms of a dacarbazine overdose tend to be similar to side effects caused by the medication, although often more severe.

What should I avoid while taking dacarbazine?

Dacarbazine can lower the activity of your immune system making you susceptible to infections. Avoid contact with people who have colds, the flu, or other contagious illnesses and do not receive vaccines that contain live strains of a virus (e.g., live oral polio vaccine) during treatment with dacarbazine. In addition, avoid contact with individuals who have recently been vaccinated with a live vaccine. There is a chance that the virus can be passed on to you.

Dacarbazine side effects

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor immediately:
  • an allergic reaction (shortness of breath; closing of your throat; difficulty breathing; swelling of your lips, face, or tongue; or hives);

  • decreased bone marrow function and blood problems (extreme fatigue; easy bruising or bleeding; black, bloody or tarry stools; or fever, chills, or signs of infection); or

  • severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite.

Other less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Talk to your doctor if you experience:

  • temporary hair loss;

  • facial flushing or numbness;

  • hives, itching and rash;

  • mild to moderate diarrhea;

  • mild to moderate nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite; or

  • flu-like symptoms including fever, muscle and joint pain.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect dacarbazine?

Do not receive "live" vaccines during treatment with dacarbazine. Administration of a live vaccine may be dangerous during treatment with dacarbazine.

Before taking dacarbazine, tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, especially any other cancer (chemotherapy) medicines. You may not be able to take dacarbazine, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring if you are taking other medicines. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about dacarbazine written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Dacarbazine is available with a prescription under the brand name DTIC-Dome. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your doctor or pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.04. Revision Date: 2/13/04 3:59:04 PM.

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