Blenoxane

1 What is Blenoxane?

Brand: Blenoxane

Generic: Bleomycin

Bleomycin, also known and sold under the trade name of Blenoxane, is a product which belongs to a group of drugs known as antineoplastics.

It is used in the treatment of different types of cancer, e.g. testicle cancer, uterus and cervix cancer, head and neck cancer, and etc.

It is considered to work by stopping the growth process of the cancer cells.

It is available in the form of a powder for solution.

2 What to Know Before Using

Before the decision to start the treatment with this medication is made, it is essential to get informed about the expected beneficial effects, as well as, about the potential risks and side effects. For this medication to be used, the beneficial effects must outweigh the potential risks. This is a decision that you and your doctor, together, will have to make. During the consultations, it is important to inform the doctor about:

Allergies

Inform the doctor about any allergic reactions to any kind of medications, prescribed or no prescribed. Also, inform the doctor about any allergic reactions to any specific kind of food, dye, fabric and etc.

Pediatric

Although, there are no studies done that would confirm the safety of this medication to be used within pediatric patients, this medication is not expected to cause any different side effects than it does within adults. However, the beneficial effects must outweigh the potential risks, for this medication to be prescribed within children.

Geriatric

Proper studies done have shown that this medication does not cause any age-connected problems when used within geriatric patients. However, because of the increased risk of heart and liver problems within the elderly, this medication must be used with extra caution.

Pregnancy

Inform the doctor if you are currently pregnant or have any plans about pregnancy in the near future. Proper studies done have shown that there is a risk to the fetus when this medication has been used within pediatric patients. However, in life threatening conditions, if the beneficial effects outweigh the potential risks, this medication may be prescribed to be used.

Breastfeeding

Inform the doctor if you are currently breastfeeding. There are no studies done that would confirm the safety of this medication to be used within nursing mothers. It is unknown if and how would it affect the infant. This medication is not recommended to be used within nursing mothers. However, in could be used only in cases where the beneficial effects outweigh the potential risks.

Drug interactions

Inform the doctor if you are currently using any other medications, prescribed or no prescribed, even vitamins and herbal tea. This is important because certain medications are not recommended to be used in a combination with others, due to the possibility that certain interactions could occur. However, sometimes the doctor may decide to use a certain type of a combination, including two or more medications to treat your condition, if he or she considers that combination to prove as beneficial regarding your condition.

Other interactions

Certain medications are not recommended to be used in a combination with specific type of food, tobacco and alcohol. Because of this, it is important to get informed if there is a need for you to follow a specific type of diet, and discontinue your use of tobacco and alcohol during the treatment.

Other medical problems

Inform the doctor about your medical history, any other medical problems and conditions from the past or at the moment. Especially, if there are any of the following conditions present – liver disease, kidney disease, or lung disease.

3 Proper Usage

For proper use, follow the directions given by your doctor. This medication is available in the form of a powder for a solution. It is applied by an injection. It is usually applied by the doctor or a healthcare professional in the hospital, however you could be trained to apply the injection yourself, at home. It is usually given twice a day.

The dose is individual for every patient, prescribed by the doctor and based on your condition, weigh, and the prognosis of the condition. In order to get the most beneficial effects, it is important to apply each dose regularly.

If you forget to visit your doctor regularly to apply the next dose, visit him or her as soon as possible to apply the next dose, or apply it yourself at home, if you have been previously trained.

This medication is harmful in case of swallowing and overdose.

If you suspect swallowing or an overdose, inform the doctor as soon as possible for further directions.

4 Precautions to Take

Visit your doctor regularly, at your scheduled appointments, so that he would be able to apply the next dose, and also track your condition and make any adjustments if needed.

These adjustments may refer to the dose – e.g. the doctor may decide to increase or decrease the dose, or to the treatment itself – the doctor may decide to discontinue your treatment. Inform the doctor about any allergic reactions to any kind of medications, prescribed or no prescribed. This is important because this medication may contain inactive substances that could cause certain interactions to occur.

Inform the doctor if you are currently pregnant or have any plans about pregnancy in the near future.

This is important because this medication is not recommended to be used during pregnancy, due to the studies which confirm that there is a risk to the fetus, during the treatment with this medication. The doctor will probably advise you to start using a proven form of birth control to help prevent pregnancy during the treatment.

Inform the doctor if you are currently breastfeeding.

This is important because this medication is not recommended to be used within nursing mothers. 

5 Potential Side Effects

Along with its expected beneficial effects, there are potential side effects which could occur. These side effects do not occur within all patients, also they could be mild or more serious. However, it is essential to get informed about the potential side effects, so that you would be able to notice their presence and inform the doctor as soon as possible for further directions.

Common side effects:

  • pain/redness at injection site,
  • fever,
  • chills,
  • vomiting,
  • nausea,
  • weight loss,
  • loss of appetite,
  • darkening of the skin,
  • changes in fingernails/toenails.

These are common side effects which are not considered as serious.

However, if any of these side effects persist or worsen, inform the doctor as soon as possible.

Serious side effects:

  • dizziness/fainting,
  • fast/irregular heartbeat,
  • numbness/tingling of the fingers/toes,
  • feeling of coldness in the hands/feet,
  • pale/blue skin,
  • coughing up blood,
  • change in the amount and color of urine,
  • mood changes.

These are serious side effects whose presence must be reported to the doctor as soon as possible.

A very serious allergic reaction to this medication is not common.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, inform the doctor as soon as possible:

  • skin rash,
  • itching/swelling of the face/tongue/hands/feet,
  • trouble breathing,
  • severe dizziness.
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