Bleomycin may cause severe or life-threatening lung problems. Severe lung problems may occur more commonly in older patients and in those receiving higher doses of this medication. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had lung disease. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, wheezing, fever, or chills.
Some people who have received bleomycin injection for treatment of lymphomas had a severe allergic reaction. This reaction may occur immediately or several hours after the first or second dose of bleomycin is given. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: difficulty breathing, fever, chills, fainting, dizziness, blurred vision, upset stomach, or confusion.
You will receive each dose of medication in a medical facility and your doctor will monitor you carefully while you are receiving the medication and afterwards.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain tests to check your body's response to bleomycin.
Bleomycin injection is used alone or in combination with other medications to treat head and neck cancer (including cancer of the mouth, lip, cheek, tongue, palate, throat, tonsils, and sinuses) and cancer of the penis, testicles, cervix, and vulva (the outer part of the vagina). Bleomycin is also used to treat Hodgkin's lymphoma (Hodgkin's disease) and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system) in combination with other medications. It is also used to treat pleural effusions (a condition when fluid collects in the lungs) that are caused by cancerous tumors. Bleomycin is a type of antibiotic that is only used in cancer chemotherapy. It slows or stops the growth of cancer cells in your body.
Bleomycin comes as a powder to be mixed with liquid and injected intravenously (into a vein), intramuscularly (into a muscle), or subcutaneously (under the skin) by a doctor or nurse in a medical office or hospital outpatient department. It is usually injected once or twice a week. When bleomycin is used to treat pleural effusions, it is mixed with liquid and placed in the chest cavity through a chest tube (plastic tube that is placed in the chest cavity through a cut in the skin).
Bleomycin is also sometimes used to treat Kaposi's sarcoma related to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
If you miss an appointment to receive bleomycin, call your doctor as soon as possible.
redness, blistering, tenderness, or thickening of the skin
darkened skin color
sores on the mouth or tongue
loss of appetite
sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg on one side of the body
sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding
sudden dizziness. loss of balance or coordination
sudden severe headache
Bleomycin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Last Revised - 08/15/2011
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 2013. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.