Vincristine (Oncovin®, Vincasar® )

Warnings: Vincristine can be a dangerous treatment for some, and it is very important to discuss the risks with your doctor. Vincristine should never be administered near the spine and should be monitored at all times to insure that the medication does not leak from the vein, which could cause serious skin and tissue damage. There are many side effects from this treatment, some of which can cause more damage or be more serious than others. You are more likely to become injured or catch an infection while on Vincristine, so you should be especially careful to try and prevent any contact you may have with anyone who is ill or anything that may carry infectious germs, and avoid rough games or dangerous situations. You should not get any vaccinations without first consulting your doctor, as you may be more vulnerable to live vaccines. Do not drive or operate any other machines until you know how this medication affects you, and do not take Vincristine if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.

Indications: Vincristine is an anti-cancer medication or chemotherapy drug. It works by slowing down or stopping the growth of cancerous and other fast-growing cells.

Common cancers Vincristine is used to treat, alone or in combination with other chemotherapy anti-cancer agents, include:

  • multiple myeloma
  • Ewing sarcoma
  • neuroblastoma
  • brain medulloblastoma
  • breast cancer
  • small cell lung cancer
  • Wilms’ tumor
  • cervical cancer
  • acute lymphoblastic leukemia
  • non-Hodgkin and hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • rhabdomyosarcoma and osteosarcoma
  • idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
  • embryonic tumors
  • Kaposi’s sarcoma related to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Dosage: Vincristine is taken by only by intravenous injection, or an IV. It should either be administered by a doctor or used precisely the way your doctor tells you to use it. In most cases, this medication will be administered weekly, usually at a hospital or wherever your doctor specializing in cancer treatments works or decides. In some cases, you may be taking this medication at home, sometimes with the assistance of a nurse, sometimes without. If you are alone while taking this medication, follow all directions exactly, be aware of all of the side effects, and have a medical expert who you can call immediately if there are any serious problems or complications. Otherwise, you should be monitored by a nurse or doctor who understands the warning signs. You should also be sure to drink plenty of fluids while on this medication.

Overdose: Vincristine is given in hospital by health care provider which makes the chance of overdose very low. In case accidental overdose or administrative mistake, the medication can damage your bone marrow, and cause a decrease in the number of blood cells. Overdosing chemotherapy drugs can cause death or severe health problems.

Sometimes, Vincristine can cause urinary tract infections, especially in the treatment of acute leukemias. To reduce or prevent urinary problems during treatment, you can drink plenty of fluids. After talking to your doctor about it, you can also drink Vichy water or Carbonated Water.

Contraindications: You should not take Vincristine if you currently have an infection, or if you currently have or have ever had a nerve or muscle disorder, a blood disorder, liver disease, or bone marrow disfunctions.

Vincristine is contraindicated in the following conditions:

  • breastfeeding
  • severe peripheral neuropathy
  • allergy to Vincristine or one of its components
  • pregnancy – if you are of childbearing age, an effective contraception during treatment can be applied to prevent pregnancy
  • Vaccination against yellow fever, live attenuated vaccines, phenytoin, fosphenytoin and itraconazole.

Interactions: Vincristine interacts negatively with a wide variety of medications, including some over-the-counter and herbal medications. In order to prevent any unpleasant or dangerous reactions with Vincristine, talk to your doctor about everything you are currently taking or know that you may take during this treatment. Before you take anything else during your Vincristine treatment, call your doctor to make sure there will not be any negative reactions.

Side effects: In addition to attack cancer cells, Vincristine may interfere with certain normal cells, causing a number of side effects:

  • hair loss
  • nausea and vomiting
  • stomach pain and cramps
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • jaw pain
  • fatigue
  • sleep disorders
  • Mouth blistering

If the side effects above persist for weeks, contact your oncologist. In addition, contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • fainting
  • confusion
  • shortness of breath
  • difficulty walking
  • Infection:sore throat, fever …
  • hoarseness
  • vision problems
  • tingling, numbness, and cramping in the legs or arms
  • severe abdominal or muscle cramping
  • persistent diarrhea or constipation
  • swelling of the feet and ankles
  • painful urination or urgent need to urinate
  • Redness, pain, or swelling at the injection site

References:, vincristine, vincristine definition

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