What is this medication?
VINCRISTINE (vin KRIS teen) treats some types of cancer. It works by slowing down the growth of cancer cells.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Oncovin, Vincasar PFS
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
- Liver disease
- Low white blood cell levels
- Lung disease
- Nervous system disease, such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT)
- Recent or ongoing radiation therapy
- An unusual or allergic reaction to vincristine, other chemotherapy agents, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medication?
This medication is infused into a vein. 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. While it may be given to children for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
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:
- Live virus vaccines
This medication may also interact with the following:
- Medications for fungal infections, such as itraconazole or fluconazole
- Supplements, such as St. John's wort
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.
You may need blood work while taking this medication.
This medication may increase your risk to bruise or bleed. Call your care team if you notice any unusual bleeding.
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.
This medication will cause constipation. If you do not have a bowel movement for 3 days, call your care team.
Call your care team if you are around anyone with measles, chickenpox, or if you develop sores or blisters that do not heal properly.
Be careful brushing or flossing your teeth or using a toothpick because you may get an infection or bleed more easily. If you have any dental work done, tell your dentist you are receiving this medication
Talk to your care team if you or your partner wish to become pregnant or think either of you might be pregnant. This medication can cause serious birth defects.
This medication may cause infertility. Talk to your care team if you are concerned about your fertility.
Talk to your care team before breastfeeding. Changes to your treatment plan may be needed.
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
- High uric acid level—severe pain, redness, warmth, or swelling in joints, pain or trouble passing urine, pain in the lower back or sides
- Infection—fever, chills, cough, sore throat, wounds that don't heal, pain or trouble when passing urine, general feeling of discomfort or being unwell
- Pain, tingling, or numbness in the hands or feet, muscle weakness, change in vision, confusion or trouble speaking, loss of balance or coordination, trouble walking, seizures
- Painful swelling, warmth, or redness of the skin, blisters or sores at the infusion site
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):
- Hair loss
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach cramping
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 Vincristine
- Apply warm compress if you have any pain, redness or swelling at the IV site, and notify your doctor.
- Keep your bowels moving. Your health care provider may prescribe a stool softener to help prevent constipation that may be caused by Vincristine.
- Drink 2 to 3 quarts of fluid every 24 hours, unless you were told to restrict your fluid intake, and maintain good nutrition. This will decrease your chances of being constipated, and prevent dehydration.
- You may be at risk of infection so try to avoid crowds or people with colds, and report fever or any other signs of infection immediately to your healthcare provider.
- Wash your hands often.
- Use an electric razor and soft toothbrush to minimize bleeding.
- Avoid contact sports or activities that could cause injury.
- Avoid sun exposure. Wear SPF 15 (or higher) sunblock and protective clothing.
- To reduce nausea, take anti-nausea medications as prescribed by your doctor, and eat small, frequent meals.
- Keep your mouth clean with baking soda and salt rinses. You can mix 1/2 to 1 tsp. of baking soda and/or 1/2 to 1 tsp. salt in 8 ounces of water, and use as a mouthwash, to avoid or decrease the severity of mouth sores.
- In general, drinking alcoholic beverages should be minimized or avoided. You should discuss this with your doctor.
- 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:
Contact your health care provider immediately, day or night, if you should experience any of the following symptoms:
- Fever of 100.4° F (38° C), chills (possible signs of infection)
- Urinary retention (inability to urinate)
The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not emergency situations. Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the following:
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Black or tarry stools, or blood in your stools or urine
- Diarrhea (4-6 episodes in a 24-hour period)
- Nausea (interferes with ability to eat and unrelieved with prescribed medications)
- Vomiting (vomiting more than 4-5 times in a 24-hour period)
- Severe abdominal pain
- Lip or mouth sores
- Painful urination
- Bone pain
Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.