What is Vinblastine?

Vinblastine (Velban) is a vinca-alkaloid chemotherapy medication that is used to treat Hodgkin lymphoma, histiocytic lymphoma, mycosis fungoides, testicular cancer and Karposi sarcoma. It can also be used in bladder cancer, melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer and soft tissue sarcoma; however, these are off-label non-FDA approved indications. Vinblastine inhibits cell replication by disrupting the formation of microtubules. Additionally, it may disrupt nucleic acid and protein synthesis, which also prevents the cell from replicating.

How it is administered:

Vinblastine is administered intravenously either as a short infusion or as a “push.” If it is administered as a “push,” vinblastine is not diluted into a bag of solution prior to administration but injected into the blood stream directly. The infusion either way is approximately 5-7 minutes. This medication can cause some irritation to the veins during the administration.

What to expect:

Vinblastine can cause anemia and reduce the body’s ability to fight infections. Tingling and/or loss of sensations in the fingers and toes can occur as well. Hair loss, bone pain, jaw pain and constipation are common side effects. Nausea and vomiting is possible, but this medication is not usually a very nauseating chemotherapy medication. A mild metallic taste in the mouth during treatment has been reported as well.