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Alkeran (Melphalan) belongs to the group of cancer-fighting medications known as antineoplastics, and specifically to the group of antineoplastics known as alkylating agents. Alkeran (Melphalan) prevents the growth of cancer cells by interfering with the genetic material DNA, which is necessary for reproduction of cells.
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Alkeran (Melphalan) belongs to the group of cancer-fighting medications known as antineoplastics, and specifically to the group of antineoplastics known as alkylating agents.
Alkeran (Melphalan) prevents the growth of cancer cells by interfering with the genetic material DNA, which is necessary for reproduction of cells. It is used to treat Multiple Myeloma (a type of blood cancer), malignant Melanoma (a type of Skin Cancer), and cancer of the ovary.
Alkeran (Melphalan) may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of Alkeran (Melphalan) may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested Alkeran (Melphalan) for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking Alkeran (Melphalan), speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking Alkeran (Melphalan) without consulting your doctor.Do not give Alkeran (Melphalan) to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take Alkeran (Melphalan) if their doctor has not prescribed it.
Alkeran (Melphalan) is available as tablets and in an injectable form. There are many different dosing schedules used for treatment with Alkeran (Melphalan) tablets and Alkeran (Melphalan) injectable. A common adult dose of Alkeran (Melphalan) tablets for multiple myeloma is 6 mg daily for up to 2 to 3 weeks. After this time, the medication is usually stopped for a period of up to 4 weeks, and blood tests are carried out. A dose of 2 mg daily is often started on a regular basis following the waiting period.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
Alkeran (Melphalan) injection will be injected by your doctor or by someone under direct supervision of your doctor. The dose is based on body size. It is usually injected into a vein through a specially prepared site on the skin. It is sometimes administered by a technique known as perfusion.
It is important to take Alkeran (Melphalan) exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Your doctor may want you to drink extra fluids while taking Alkeran (Melphalan) so that kidney problems are prevented. Alkeran (Melphalan) may cause nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite, but it is important that you continue to use it. Do not stop taking it without talking with your doctor.
If you vomit shortly after taking a dose of Alkeran (Melphalan), call your doctor for instructions on whether to skip that dose or to take another dose. If you miss a dose of Alkeran (Melphalan), skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule, and inform your doctor. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
As well as interfering with the genetic material DNA of cancer cells, Alkeran (Melphalan) can interfere with some of your normal cells. This can cause a number of side effects. Keep track of any side effects and report them to your doctor as suggested in the section, "What side effects are possible with Alkeran (Melphalan)?"
Store Alkeran (Melphalan) in a cool, dry place, and protect it from direct light.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes Alkeran (Melphalan). If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of Alkeran (Melphalan) with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking Alkeran (Melphalan).
Each vial of sterile, white to cream-coloured, freeze-dried powder contains Alkeran (Melphalan) HCl equivalent to Alkeran (Melphalan) 50 mg and povidone 20 mg. Each vial of solvent-diluent provides 10 mL of buffer solution containing sodium citrate 0.20 g, ethanol 0.52 mL, propylene glycol 6 mL, and water for injection, q.s.
Each white to off-white, round, biconvex, film-coated tablet, imprinted with "A" on one side and "GX EH3" on the other side, contains Alkeran (Melphalan) 2 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: colloidal silicon dioxide, crospovidone, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol 400, and titanium dioxide.
Do not use Alkeran (Melphalan) if you:
There may be an interaction between Alkeran (Melphalan) and any of the following:
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.Medications other than those listed above may interact with Alkeran (Melphalan). Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the Nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or Allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use Alkeran (Melphalan).
Anemia: Alkeran (Melphalan) may cause low levels of red blood cells. If you experience symptoms of reduced red blood cell count (anemia) such as shortness of breath, feeling unusually tired, or pale skin, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Blood clotting: This medication can reduce the number of platelet cells in the blood. Platelets help the blood to clot, and a shortage could make you bleed more easily. Tell your doctor of any signs that your blood is not clotting as quickly. Such symptoms may include black and tarry stools, blood in the urine, easy bruising, or cuts that won't stop bleeding.
Fertility: Sterility may occur with the use of Alkeran (Melphalan).
Gout: Alkeran (Melphalan) may cause high levels of uric acid in the blood, making gout more likely to occur.
Infection and vaccines: As well as killing cancer cells, Alkeran (Melphalan) can reduce the number of cells that fight infection in the body (white blood cells). Avoid contact with people with contagious infections and tell your doctor if you begin to notice the signs of an infection such as fever or chills. Also tell your doctor if you have been vaccinated, or are planning to be vaccinated with a live vaccine.
Kidney problems: Kidney Disease or reduced kidney function may cause Alkeran (Melphalan) to build up in the body, increasing the risk of side effects. If you have kidney problems, discuss with your doctor how Alkeran (Melphalan) may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of Alkeran (Melphalan), and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Lung problems: In rare cases, Alkeran (Melphalan) can cause lung problems (Pulmonary Fibrosis, permanent scarring of the lungs or interstitial pneumonitis, inflammation of the lungs) that, in some cases, can be fatal. If you experience any difficulty breathing, wheezing, fever, shortness of breath, cough, or coughing up of blood, accompanied by weakness and weight loss while taking Alkeran (Melphalan), tell your doctor immediately.
Secondary cancer: When used for long periods of time, Alkeran (Melphalan) can increase the risk of developing Leukemia. If you have any concerns, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of using Alkeran (Melphalan).
Pregnancy: There is a possibility of birth defect if either the man or the woman is taking Alkeran (Melphalan) at the time of conception, or if it is taken during pregnancy. Effective birth control should be practiced while using Alkeran (Melphalan).
Alkeran (Melphalan) should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking Alkeran (Melphalan), contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: Alkeran (Melphalan) passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking Alkeran (Melphalan), it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of Alkeran (Melphalan) have not been established for children.
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