Bleomycin is used to treat cancer. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.
This medication may also be used to control the build-up of fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion) caused by tumors that have spread to the lungs. For this condition, bleomycin is placed in the space around the lungs through a chest tube.
See also Warning section.
Pain/redness at the injection site, fever, chills, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, darkening of the skin, or changes in fingernails/toenails may occur. Changes in diet such as eating several small meals or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. In some cases, drug treatment may be necessary to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Temporary hair loss may occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.
People using this medication may have serious side effects. However, your doctor has prescribed this drug because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Careful monitoring by your doctor may decrease your risk.
Painful sores on the lips, mouth, and throat may occur. To decrease the risk, limit hot foods and drinks, brush your teeth carefully, avoid using mouthwash that contains alcohol, and rinse your mouth frequently with cool water.
Before using bleomycin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially: immune system problems (e.g., chemotherapy, bone marrow problems), kidney disease, liver disease, lung problems.
This medication may make your lungs more sensitive to oxygen treatment. Therefore, tell your doctor or dentist that you have used this medication before having surgery or any treatment where oxygen may be used.
Kidney function declines as you grow older. This medication is removed by the kidneys. Therefore, elderly people may be at greater risk for side effects (e.g., lung problems) while using this drug.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: brentuximab, digoxin, drugs that may harm the kidneys (for example, aminoglycosides such as gentamicin, cisplatin), phenytoin.