What is this medication?
BLEOMYCIN (blee oh MYE sin) treats some types of cancer. It works by slowing down the growth of cancer cells. It may also be used to prevent and treat the buildup of fluid around the lungs that can be caused by cancer. It works by helping your body create less space around your lungs, so that fluid cannot build up.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Blenoxane
What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- Kidney disease
- Lung disease
- Recent or ongoing radiation therapy
- Tobacco use
- An unusual or allergic reaction to bleomycin, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medication?
This medication is injected into a vein or a body cavity. It can also be injected into a muscle or under the skin. It is given by your care team in a hospital or clinic setting.
Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. Special care may be needed.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
What if I miss a dose?
Keep appointments for follow-up doses. It is important not to miss your dose. Call your care team if you are unable to keep an appointment.
What may interact with this medication?
Do not take this medication with any of the following:
- Brentuximab vedotin
This medication may also interact with the following:
- Certain antibiotics
- Medications to increase blood counts, such as filgrastim, pegfilgrastim, sargramostim
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Your condition will be monitored carefully while you are receiving this medication.
This medication may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon as chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment even though you feel ill unless your care team tells you to stop.
This medication may increase your risk of getting an infection. Call your care team for advice if you get a fever, chills, sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.
Avoid taking medications that contain aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen unless instructed by your care team. These medications may hide a fever.
Talk to your care team if you may be pregnant. Serious birth defects can occur if you take this medication during pregnancy. Contraception is recommended while taking this medication. Your care team can help you find the option that works for you.
Do not breastfeed while taking this medication.
There is a maximum amount of this medication you should receive throughout your life. The amount depends on the medical condition being treated and your overall health. Your care team will watch how much of this medication you receive. Tell your care team if you have taken this medication before.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?
Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:
- Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Dry cough, shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- Infusion reactions—chest pain, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, feeling faint or lightheaded
- Kidney injury—decrease in the amount of urine, swelling of the ankles, hands, or feet
- Liver injury—right upper belly pain, loss of appetite, nausea, light-colored stool, dark yellow or brown urine, yellowing skin or eyes, unusual weakness or fatigue
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):
- Change in nail shape, thickness, or color
- Change in skin color
- Hair loss
- Loss of appetite with weight loss
- Pain, redness, or irritation at injection site
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Where should I keep my medication?
This medication is given in a hospital or clinic. It will not be stored at home.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
Additional Information From Chemocare.com About Bleomycin
- For flu-like symptoms, keep warm with blankets and drink plenty of liquids. There are medications that can help reduce the discomfort caused by chills.
- Ask about taking acetaminophen to help treat/prevent fever. If okay, take no more than 3000mg in 24 hour period of time.
- Drink at least two to three quarts of fluid every 24 hours, unless you are instructed otherwise.
- To reduce nausea, take anti-nausea medications as prescribed by your doctor, and eat small, frequent meals.
- Avoid sun exposure. Wear SPF 30 (or higher) sunblock and protective clothing.
- In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be kept to a minimum or avoided completely. You should discuss this with your doctor.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Maintain good nutrition.
- If you experience symptoms or side effects, be sure to discuss them with your health care team. They can prescribe medications and/or offer other suggestions that are effective in managing such problems.
When to Contact Your Doctor or Health Care Provider:
Seek emergency help immediately and notify your health care provider, if you experience the following symptoms:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like hives, rash, itching, skin peeling, wheezing, tightness in the chest or throat, or swelling of the mouth, face, tongue, or throat.
- Fever of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher, chills (possible signs of infection).
The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not an emergency. Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the following:
- Nausea (interferes with ability to eat and unrelieved with prescribed medication).
- Vomiting (vomiting more than 4-5 times in a 24 hour period).
- Diarrhea (4-6 episodes in a 24-hour period).
- Unusual bleeding or bruising.
- Black or tarry stools, or blood in your stools.
- Blood in the urine.
- Pain or burning with urination.
- Extreme fatigue (unable to carry on self-care activities).
- Mouth sores (painful redness, swelling or ulcers).
- Swelling, redness and/or pain in one leg or arm and not the other.
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes.
- Cough, shortness of breath.
Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.