Bleomycin injection is used alone or in combination with other medications to treat head and neck cancer (including cancer of the mouth, lip, cheek, tongue, palate, throat, tonsils, and sinuses) and cancer of the penis, testicles, cervix, and vulva (the outer part of the vagina). Bleomycin is also used to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma (Hodgkin’s disease) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system) in combination with other medications. It is also used to treat pleural effusions (a condition when fluid collects in the lungs) that are caused by cancerous tumors. Bleomycin is a type of antibiotic that is only used in cancer chemotherapy. It slows or stops the growth of cancer cells in your body.
Side Effects Of Bleomycin
Bleomycin may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- redness, blistering, tenderness, or thickening of the skin
- darkened skin color
- hair loss
- sores on the mouth or tongue
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:
- sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg on one side of the body
- sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding
- sudden dizziness. loss of balance or coordination
- sudden severe headache
- chest pain
- decreased urination
Bleomycin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking bleomycin:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to bleomycin or any of the ingredients in bleomycin injection. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and nutritional supplements, you are taking or plan to take. Your doctor may need to monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney or lung disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. You should not become pregnant while you are receiving bleomycin injection. If you become pregnant while receiving bleomycin, call your doctor. Bleomycin may harm the fetus.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are receiving bleomycin.
Bleomycin comes as a powder to be mixed with liquid and injected intravenously (into a vein), intramuscularly (into a muscle), or subcutaneously (under the skin) by a doctor or nurse in a medical office or hospital outpatient department. It is usually injected once or twice a week. When bleomycin is used to treat pleural effusions, it is mixed with liquid and placed in the chest cavity through a chest tube (a plastic tube that is placed in the chest cavity through a cut in the skin).
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.