Melphalan is used to treat multiple myeloma (a type of cancer of the bone marrow).
Melphalan is also used to treat a certain type of ovarian cancer (cancer that begins in the female reproductive organs where eggs are formed). Melphalan is in a class of medications called alkylating agents. It works by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells in your body.
Side Effects Of Melphalan
Melphalan may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
loss of appetite or weight
sores in the mouth and throat
missed menstrual periods (in girls and women)
joint, muscle, or back pain
Some side effects of melphalan can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:
fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat
yellowing of the skin or eyes
pain in the upper right part of the stomach
unusual lumps or masses
Melphalan may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking melphalan:
tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to melphalan, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in melphalan tablets. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: carmustine (BICNU, BCNU), cimetidine (Tagamet), cisplatin (Platinol AQ), cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Gengraf, Neoral), or interferon alfa (Intron A, Infergen, Alferon N).
tell your doctor if you have taken melphalan before, but your cancer did not respond to the medication. Your doctor will probably tell you not to take melphalan.
tell your doctor if you have received radiation therapy or other chemotherapy recently or if you have or have ever had kidney disease.
you should know that melphalan may interfere with the normal menstrual cycle (period) in women and may temporarily or permanently stop sperm production in men. Melphalan may cause infertility (difficulty becoming pregnant); however, you should not assume that you cannot get pregnant or that you cannot get someone else pregnant. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should tell their doctors before they begin taking this drug. You should not plan to have children while receiving chemotherapy or for a while after treatments. (Talk to your doctor for further details.) Use a reliable method of birth control to prevent pregnancy. Melphalan may harm the fetus.
do not have any vaccinations without talking to your doctor.
Dosage Of Melphalan
Melphalan comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken on an empty stomach once a day. The length of treatment depends on the types of drugs you are taking, how well your body responds to them, and the type of cancer you have. Take melphalan at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take melphalan exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Your doctor may need to delay your treatment or adjust your dose of melphalan depending on your response to treatment and any side effects that you experience. Talk to your doctor about how you are feeling during your treatment. Do not stop taking melphalan without talking to your doctor.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it in the refrigerator and away from light.
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.