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Melphalan

Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

  • Chest pain
  • Chills
  • Cough or hoarseness
  • Fever
  • Lower back or side pain
  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
  • Swollen glands
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness

Incidence not known

  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • Absent, missed, or irregular menstrual periods
  • Back or leg pains
  • Bleeding gums
  • Bloated abdomen
  • Blurred vision
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Confusion
  • Dark urine
  • Difficult or labored breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position suddenly
  • Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • General body swelling
  • Headache
  • Hives
  • Indigestion
  • Itching
  • Light-colored stools
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Noisy breathing
  • Nosebleeds
  • Pain and fullness in right upper abdomen
  • Pale skin
  • Puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips or tongue
  • Rash
  • Reddening of the skin, especially around ears swelling of eyes, face, or inside of nose
  • Skin rash
  • Sore throat
  • Sweating
  • Swelling of face, hands, ankles, feet, or lower legs
  • Tightness in chest
  • Unpleasant breath odor
  • Unusual lumps or masses
  • Vomiting of blood
  • Weight gain
  • Weight loss
  • Wheezing
  • Yellow eyes or skin

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:

Symptoms of overdose

  • Black, tarry stools
  • Blood in urine
  • Bloody stools
  • Change in frequency of urination or amount of urine
  • Coma
  • Convulsions
  • Cracked lips
  • Decrease in consciousness
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Flushing of skin or feeling of warmth
  • Increased salivation or sweating
  • Increased thirst
  • Muscle pain or cramps
  • No muscle tone or movement
  • Seizures
  • Severe nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach discomfort, cramps, or tenderness
  • Swelling or inflammation of the mouth
  • Troubled breathing
  • Vomiting of material that looks like coffee grounds
  • Watery or bloody diarrhea
  • Weakness

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Less common

  • Indigestion
  • Passing of gas
  • Stomach fullness

Incidence not known

  • Blue-green to black skin discoloration
  • Hair loss, thinning of hair
  • Pain, redness, soreness, or sloughing of skin at place of injection
  • Sores, welting, or blisters

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Precautions

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects .

This medicine may cause a serious type of allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have itching; hives; hoarseness; trouble breathing; trouble swallowing; or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth while you are using this medicine .

Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away. You should not breastfeed during treatment with melphalan .

If you plan to have children, talk with your doctor before using this medicine. Some men and women using this medicine have become infertile (unable to have children) .

While you are being treated with melphalan, and after you stop treatment with it, do not have any immunizations (vaccines) without your doctor’s approval. Melphalan may lower your body’s resistance, and there is a chance you might get the infection the vaccine is meant to prevent. In addition, other persons living in your household should not receive certain vaccines, since there is a chance they could pass the infection on to you. If you have questions about this, talk to your doctor .

Melphalan can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells in your blood, increasing the chance of getting an infection. It can also lower the number of platelets, which are necessary for proper blood clotting. If this occurs, there are certain precautions you can take, especially when your blood count is low, to reduce the risk of infection or bleeding:

  • If you can, avoid people with infections. Check with your doctor immediately if you think you are getting an infection or if you get a fever or chills, cough or hoarseness, lower back or side pain, or painful or difficult urination.
  • Check with your doctor immediately if you notice any unusual bleeding or bruising; black, tarry stools; blood in urine or stools; or pinpoint red spots on your skin.
  • Be careful when using a regular toothbrush, dental floss, or toothpick. Your medical doctor, dentist, or nurse may recommend other ways to clean your teeth and gums. Check with your medical doctor before having any dental work done.
  • Do not touch your eyes or the inside of your nose unless you have just washed your hands and have not touched anything else in the meantime.
  • Be careful not to cut yourself when you are using sharp objects such as a safety razor or fingernail or toenail cutters.
  • Avoid contact sports or other situations where bruising or injury could occur .

Proper Use

You will receive this medicine while you are in a hospital or cancer treatment center. A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins .

Description

Melphalan is used to treat multiple myeloma, which is a cancer in the bone marrow .

Melphalan belongs to the group of medicines called alkylating agents. It works by interfering with the growth of cancer cells, which are eventually destroyed. Since the growth of normal body cells may also be affected by melphalan, other effects will also occur. Some of these may be serious and must be reported to your doctor. Other effects may not be serious, but may cause concern. Some effects may not occur for months or years after the medicine is used .

Before you begin treatment with melphalan, you and your doctor should talk about the good this medicine will do as well as the risks of using it .

This medicine is available only with your doctor’s prescription .