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Bleomycin

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Antitumor Antibiotic Cancer-related

Bleomycin - What is it for

Bleomycin attacks cancer cells and prevents them from dividing and growing in numbers.

It is commonly used together with other medications to treat lymphomas and certain solid tumours such as testicular and skin cancers.

Bleomycin - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Bleomycin cause?

Early Side Effects (within days after receiving Bleomycin)

  • Fever and chills commonly occur shortly after treatment
    • This may be relieved by taking paracetamol
    • However, seek medical attention if your fever lasts for more than 24 hours after treatment, or if your fever is above 38° C

Delayed Side Effects (within days to weeks after receiving Bleomycin)

  • Skin reactions: redness, darkening in some areas, stretch marks, thickening
    • Your skin will slowly return to normal after stopping treatment.
  • Nail changes: thickening, discolouration, banding (appearance of lines)
    • Your nails will slowly return to normal after stopping treatment.
  • Temporary hair loss or thinning
    • Use a gentle shampoo to wash your hair.
  • Nausea or vomiting
    • Take the medications for nausea or vomiting as instructed by your doctor if any.
  • Poor appetite and weight loss
    • Take small, frequent meals throughout the day.
  • Mouth sores
    • Rinse your mouth after meals using an alcohol-free mouthwash or salt water.
    • Brush your teeth gently with a soft toothbrush.

Please see your healthcare professional immediately if any of the following occur:

  • Fever of 38° C and above, especially with chills
  • Very bad sore throat, changes in voice or mouth sores
  • Pain or burning feeling on passing urine
  • Very bad skin rash or itch
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, black sticky stools or blood in urine
  • Dry cough that does not go away or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or fast heartbeat
  • Allergic reaction – this may occur during or several hours after treatment.
    The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:
    • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
    • Difficulty in breathing
    • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body
    • Flushing
    • Dizziness

Before taking Bleomycin, what precautions must I follow?

​Inform your healthcare professional if:

  • You are allergic to this medication
  • You or your partner becomes pregnant or is planning for pregnancy
    • You should use effective birth control during treatment and for a period of time after you finish treatment.
    • Bleomycin may affect your ability to have children in the future. You may wish to discuss this with your doctor before starting treatment.
  • You are breastfeeding
    • Do not breastfeed during treatment
  • You are taking any other medication, supplements, traditional medications or herbal remedies

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Bleomycin?

Bleomycin - Dosage and How to Use

How should Bleomycin be used?

Bleomycin may be given as an injection into your vein (intravenous), under the skin (subcutaneous) or into your muscle (intramuscular).

What should I do if I miss a dose?

​If you forget to receive a dose of Bleomycin, reschedule an appointment with your hospital as soon as possible.

What should I do if I overdose?

Bleomycin - Handling and Storage

How should I handle Bleomycin safely?

How should I store Bleomycin?

How should I dispose of Bleomycin safely?

Bleomycin - Additional Information

​You may refer to the following website if you need more information: https://www.macmillan.org.uk/

  • Updated on Monday, September 30, 2019
  • Article contributed by PSS National Medication Information Workgroup

    The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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