Bleomycin is a chemotherapy medicine used to treat
several types of cancers including
testicular cancer, lymphoma, and cancers of the head and
How It Works
Bleomycin interferes with a cell's ability to divide and reproduce,
resulting in the death of the cell.
Why It Is Used
Bleomycin is used to slow or stop the spread of cancer cells in the
How Well It Works
Bleomycin is an effective antitumor medicine. But the type
and extent of a cancer determines how effectively this medicine slows or
stops the growth of cancer cells in the body.
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Fever or chills within 3 to 6 hours after getting this medicine.
Confusion, faintness, or wheezing.
Sudden severe chest pain or a sudden weakness in your arms or legs.
Call your doctor right away if you have:
A cough or shortness of breath.
Sores in your mouth and on your lips.
Common side effects of this medicine include:
Darkening or thickening of the skin.
Skin rash or colored bumps on the fingertips, elbows, or palms.
Vomiting and loss of appetite.
The most serious problem that can happen when you take this medicine is that it can cause scarring of the tissue in your lungs (pulmonary fibrosis). This is more likely to happen in elderly people or in people who get a high total dose.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference
is not available in all systems.)
For both men and women, bleomycin can affect your ability to have
children. You may not be able to get pregnant or father a child after taking
this medicine. Discuss fertility with your doctor before starting treatment.
Bleomycin can cause birth defects. Do not use this medicine if
you are pregnant or wish to become pregnant or father a child while you are
Because bleomycin can damage the lungs, you may have tests to
measure the function of your lungs before your doctor prescribes bleomycin.
These tests may be repeated over the course of your treatment. Tell your doctor
if you have any shortness of breath or other problems breathing after you begin
If you have kidney, liver, or lung disease, talk to your doctor before taking bleomycin.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.