IMPORTANT NOTE: The following information is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. It should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. Consult your healthcare professional before using this drug.

MELPHALAN - ORAL

(MEL-fuh-lan)

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Alkeran

WARNING: Melphalan can cause a decrease in the body's blood cells (bone marrow suppression), and can cause blood cell cancer (e.g., leukemia). Notify your doctor immediately if you develop easy bleeding or bruising, unusual fatigue, or signs of an infection such as persistent sore throat or fever.

USES: Melphalan is used to treat certain types of cancer.

HOW TO USE: This is a potent medication. Take it exactly as prescribed. Unless your doctor instructs you otherwise, drink plenty of fluids while taking this medication. This helps your kidneys to remove the drug from your body and avoid some of the side effects. Do not stop taking this medication, even if you feel nauseated or experience vomiting. If you vomit shortly after a dose, or if you miss a dose, contact your doctor.

SIDE EFFECTS: Nausea and vomiting may occur. Taking the medication on an empty stomach with a full glass of water may help relieve vomiting. Changes in diet such as eating several small meals or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. In some cases, drug therapy may be necessary to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. If nausea and vomiting persist or worsen, notify your doctor promptly. Contact your doctor immediately if any of these serious side effects occur: fever, chills, painful or difficult urination, small red spots on the skin, easy bruising or bleeding, black tarry stools, blood in urine or stools, skin rash or itch, swollen feet or lower legs, cough, shortness of breath, sores in mouth or on lips, lower back or side pain. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: stomach pain, yellowing eyes and skin, dark urine, fatigue. An allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, trouble breathing. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

PRECAUTIONS: Tell your doctor if you have: kidney problems, blood disorders, allergies (especially drug allergies). Contraceptive (birth control) measures are recommended for use in men and women while taking this medication. Melphalan is not recommended for use during pregnancy. Consult your doctor before using this medication. It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Tell your doctor of all prescription and nonprescription medication you may use. Do not stop or start any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval.

OVERDOSE: If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately. Symptoms of overdose may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and intestinal bleeding.

NOTES: This medication can lower your body's ability to fight an infection. Notify your doctor if you develop any signs of an infection such as fever, sore throat, rash, or chills. Avoid touching your eyes or inside your nose without first washing your hands. Use caution with sharp objects like safety razors or nail cutters and avoid activities such as contact sports in order to lower the chance of getting cut, bruised or injured. Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without consent of your doctor, and avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine. Regular doctor visits are important. Frequent blood tests will be done to monitor therapy.

MISSED DOSE: If you miss a dose, do not take the missed dose at all and do not "double-up" the next dose. Instead, resume your usual dosing schedule and check with your doctor.

STORAGE: Different brands of this medication have different storage requirements. Refer to package labeling or consult your pharmacist for the storage requirements of the brand you are using.

MEDICAL ALERT: Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For enrollment information call MedicAlert at 1-800-854-1166 (USA), or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).

Developed by First DataBank, Inc., San Bruno, CA
Copyright 2004 by First DataBank, Inc.