Carmustine (Injection)

Introduction

Carmustine (kar-MUS-teen)

Treats brain tumors, multiple myeloma, Hodgkin's disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and other types of cancer.

Brand Name(s)

Bicnu

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to carmustine.

How to Use This Medicine

Injectable

  • This medicine, like all medicines used to treat cancer, is very strong. Make sure you understand why you are getting it and what the risks and benefits of treatment are. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor.
  • Your doctor will prescribe your dose and tell you how often it will be given.
  • Your medicine will be given through a tube put in one of your veins, usually in your arm, wrist, or hand, and sometimes in your chest. This is called intravenous (in-tra-VEEN-us), or IV.
  • A nurse or other caregiver trained to give cancer drugs will give your treatment.
  • Carmustine must be given slowly, so you may need to have the IV attached for 1 to 2 hours.
  • Do not get the medicine on your skin. If it does get on your skin, wash the area well with soap and water, and tell your caregiver.

If a dose is missed:

  • This medicine needs to be given on a regular schedule. If you miss a dose, call your doctor, home health caregiver, or clinic where you get your treatments for instructions.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • If you have your treatments at a clinic, the staff at the clinic will keep your medicine there.
  • If you have your treatments at home, you may need to store your medicine. Keep the IV liquid in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.
  • Throw away any unused medicine if the expiration has passed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children.
  • If you have your treatments at home, you should be given a special container for the used needles, medicine bags or bottles, and tubes. Put it where children or pets cannot reach it.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Avoid taking cimetidine (Tagamet®), aspirin, or ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) while you are using carmustine.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol while you are using carmustine.
  • Talk to your doctor before getting any vaccines (such as flu shots).

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with this medicine.
  • Before using this medicine, tell your doctor if you have liver, lung, or kidney disease, a bone marrow disorder, any kind of infection, or if you have had other chemotherapy.
  • You may get infections more easily while being treated with this medicine. Stay away from crowds or people with colds, flu, or other infections.
  • This medicine may make your mouth sore and irritated. Brush your teeth with a soft-bristle toothbrush or mouth swab.
  • This medicine can cause nausea and vomiting. Your doctor may prescribe medicine to keep you from feeling sick and throwing up. If the medicine does not help (you can't keep liquids down), call your doctor.
  • Do not get pregnant while you or your sexual partner are being treated with carmustine. Use an effective form of birth control while taking carmustine.
  • If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor before you start your treatments.
  • Some cancer drugs may make you sterile (unable to have children), whether you are a man or woman. If you plan to have children someday, talk with your doctor before you start your treatments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Pain, swelling or burning where the IV is given
  • Uncontrollable nausea or vomiting
  • Redness in the eyes, trouble seeing
  • Shortness of breath, trouble breathing
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Unexplained fever, chills, or sore throat
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Hair loss
  • Nausea and vomiting

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: September 18, 2013

         
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