Oncovin-Vincristine Sulfate

Patient Education Quick Reference Guide Diablo Valley Oncology/Hematology Medical Group Phone Number: 925-677-5041

WARNING Infusion related problems: Vincristine sulfate is given by injection into a vein (IV) and can cause serious skin and tissue problems if it leaks out of the vein while being given. Your doctor or healthcare provider will monitor you carefully during the administration of vincristine sulfate to make sure that this does not happen. Uses For This Medication  
  • Vincristine sulfate is used in combination with other chemotherapy medications to treat adults with acute leukemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, neuroblastoma, Wilm’s tumor, or multiple myeloma.
  • This medication may also be given for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
  How This Medication Works   Vincristine sulfate is a chemotherapy medication that doesn’t allow cancer cells, also known as tumor cells, to divide and grow normally, which leads to tumor cell death. Benefits of This Medication   Vincristine sulfate, given together with other chemotherapy medications, may slow down the growth of the tumor, or cancer. In addition, for some cancers, vincristine sulfate in combination with other chemotherapy medications may lengthen how long a person lives. Who Should Not Take This Medication   You should not take this medication if you:
  • Have the demyelinating form of Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome, which is an inherited disease of the nerves that causes a weakening of the muscles in the foot, lower leg, hand, and forearm, and a mild loss of feeling in the limbs, fingers, and toes.
 

Precautions to be Aware of Before Taking This Medication

 

Organ related precautions

  • This medication can cause nerve problems in the hands and feet. Symptoms can include numbness, pain or a burning feeling in the feet or hands. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider if you experience new symptoms or if your symptoms get worse.
  • Cough and shortness of breath can occur after vincristine sulfate is given. This problem appears to occur more frequently when this medication is being given in combination with mitomycin and can occur up to two weeks after the dose of mitomycin. Your doctor or healthcare provider will watch you carefully during and after the administration of vincristine sulfate to make sure that you do not experience any cough or shortness of breath. In addition, you should let your doctor or healthcare provider know if you experience these symptoms at a later time.
  • This medication can cause abnormal changes in your blood, especially increases in the blood levels of uric acid. This occurs when chemotherapy medications rapidly kill large numbers of cancer cells. High levels of uric acid can be harmful to the kidney and can lead to kidney problems. Your doctor or healthcare provider will check your blood regularly through blood tests to make sure that you do not develop this problem.
  • Vincristine sulfate can cause serious constipation, which, if not treated, can lead to bowel obstruction (a blockage) and/or perforation (a tear in the lining). Contact your doctor or healthcare provider if you experience symptoms of stomach pain and/or constipation.
 

Miscellaneous precautions

  Do not receive any immunizations (vaccinations) while on this medication without your doctor or healthcare provider’s approval. This medication can increase your risk of infection. For certain immunizations, you may develop the infection that the immunization is intended to prevent.

Patient specific precautions

  It is not known if this medication is safe and effective in children.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Precautions

 
  • This medication may cause fetal harm. When taking this medication, you should use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy. Tell your doctor or healthcare provider right away if you or your spouse/partner becomes pregnant.
  • It is not known whether this medication is found or excreted in breast milk. Since many medications are excreted in breast milk and because this medication can cause serious harmful reactions in infants, breastfeeding should be avoided.
  • Many anti-cancer therapies can cause sterility. Notify your doctor or healthcare provider if you want to have children in the future.
 

Medication and Food Interactions

  Before using this medication, tell your doctor or healthcare provider of all prescription or over-the- counter products you are taking, including dietary supplements or vitamins, herbal medicines and homeopathic remedies. Do not start or stop any medication without your doctor or healthcare provider’s approval. Possible interactions can occur with vincristine sulfate and the following foods or medications:
  • Amiodarone (Cordarone?)
  • Aprepitant (Emend?)
  • Atazanavir (Reyataz?)
  • Carbamazepine
  • Clarithromycin (Biaxin?)
  • Erythromycin
  • Fluconazole (Diflucan?)
  • Grapefruit or grapefruit juice
  • Imatinib mesylate (Gleevec?)
  • Indinavir (Crixivan?)
  • Itraconazole (Sporanox?)
  • Ketoconazole (Nizoral?)
  • Mitomycin (Mutamycin?)
  • Nefazodone (Serzone?)
  • Nelfinavir (Viracept?)
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin?)
  • Phenobarbital
  • Rifabutin (Mycobutin?)
  • Rifampin (Rifadin?)
  • Ritonavir (Norvir)
  • Saquinavir
  • St.John’s wort
  • Voriconazole (Vfend?)
NOTE: This list may not include all medications that can have interactions with vincristine sulfate.

Side Effects

 
  • All medications can cause side effects. However, not all patients will experience these side effects. In addition, other side effects not listed can also occur in some patients. You should call your doctor or healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns while you are on this medication.
  • You should contact your doctor or healthcare provider if you experience any side effect(s) which don’t go away, worsen, are serious in nature, or are worrisome to you.
  • Side effects can occur when vincristine sulfate is given alone or together with other chemotherapy medications. The side effects listed below are those reported in patients who were treated with vincristine sulfate alone.
 

More common side effects

 
  • Hair loss
  • Constipation (see Precautions To Be Aware Of Before Taking This Medication)
  • Numbness and tingling in hands and/or feet from nerve irritation (see Precautions To Be Aware Of Before Taking This Medication)
 

Less common side effects

 
  • Weakness, muscle aches
  • Weight loss
  • Mouth sores
  • Cramping, stomach pain
 

Rare side effects

  This is not a complete list of the rare side effects reported with vincristine sulfate. For a complete list, please talk with your doctor or healthcare provider about reviewing a copy of the package insert.
  • Cough, shortness of breath (see Precautions To Be Aware Of Before Taking This Medication) 
  • Tingling, sensory loss, loss of reflexes, difficulty walking (see Precautions To Be Aware Of Before Taking This Medication) 
  • Vision changes, headache 
  • Taste changes, jaw pain 
  • Decreased red blood cell, white blood cell, and/or platelet levels 
  • Changes in blood pressure 
  • Low sodium levels in the blood, high uric acid levels in the blood (see Precautions To Be Aware Of Before Taking This Medication) 
  • Urinary retention 
  • Allergic type reactions 
  • Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone
  How To Take This Medication  
  • This medication is only given by injection into a vein (IV) by a healthcare professional. This medication can be given in different doses depending on your weight, your type of condition and whether vincristine sulfate is being given with other chemotherapy medications.
  • In the unlikely event of an overdose of this medication contact your doctor, your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222, or emergency services immediately.
  Proper Storage  
  • It is unlikely that you will need to store this medication. However, in the event that you do, unopened containers should be stored in the refrigerator.
  • Keep this medication out of the reach of children or pets.
  • Ask your doctor or healthcare provider how to dispose of any medication that you no longer use.