Treats leukemia and many other types of cancer, usually in combination with other medicine.
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
How to Use This Medicine
- 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 decide how much medicine you should have and when it will be given. A nurse or other caregiver trained to give cancer drugs will give your treatment.
- 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.
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 medicine in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.
- Keep all medicine away from 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.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are taking blood thinners (Coumadin®), calcium channel blockers (such as Cardizem®, Procardia®, or Cardene®), or digoxin (Lanoxin®).
- Tell your doctor if you are also taking phenytoin (Dilantin®) or itraconazole (Sporanox®).
- You should not use aspirin or any product that has aspirin in it (such as some cold medicines) unless you have talked to your doctor.
- Talk to your doctor before getting flu shots or other vaccines while using vincristine.
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Tell your doctor if you have ever had liver disease, or diseases of your nerves or muscles, especially Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
- If you start to have pain, redness, or swelling where the IV is given, tell your caregiver right away.
- You may get infections more easily while getting medicine. Stay away from crowds or people with colds, flu, or other infections
- This medicine can cause constipation. Drink plenty of fluids or fruit juices while you are being treated. Your doctor may also give you medicine to soften your stool.
- 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.
- Your doctor may want to check your blood while you are taking this medicine. Make sure to keep all appointments.
- Do not breastfeed while you are being given this medicine.
- Do not get pregnant while you or your sexual partner are being treated with vincristine. Use an effective form of birth control while taking vincristine, and for at least 2 months after stopping the medicine.
- If you are pregnant, talk to 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:
- Blurred vision
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, uncontrollable eye movements
- Pain when going to the bathroom (urinating)
- Severe muscle cramps or bone pain
- Severe stomach pain and constipation
- Swelling, redness, or pain, where the IV was given
- Trouble breathing or changes in voice
- Trouble controlling your bladder
- Trouble walking
- Unexplained fever, chills, sore throat
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Hair loss
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Nausea or vomiting
- Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
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
- Last reviewed on 4/8/2016
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