This medication is used to treat certain types of cancer (e.g., chronic lymphocytic leukemia-CLL, B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma). Bendamustine belongs to a class of cancer chemotherapy drugs known as alkylating agents. It works by killing cancer cells or slowing their growth.
This medication is injected slowly into a vein by a health care professional as directed by your doctor.
The dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to treatment. Before each cycle, you should have blood tests to find the best dose for you and to see whether you need to wait before receiving this drug again.
Before you receive this medication, your doctor may direct you to take a fever reducer, an antihistamine, and a corticosteroid such as dexamethasone to help prevent side effects. Use these additional medications exactly as directed by your doctor. (See also Side Effects section.)
If bendamustine leaks out of the vein into the surrounding area, it may cause serious skin and tissue damage. Tell your health care professional immediately if you experience pain, irritation, redness, or swelling at the injection site. Prompt treatment of the leakage will help reduce discomfort and possible skin damage.
See also How to Use section.
Many people using this medication 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.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: unusual tiredness, pale skin, signs of infection (such as persistent sore throat, cough, fever, chills), easy bruising/bleeding, swelling ankles/feet/hands.
Bendamustine sometimes causes side effects due to the rapid destruction of cancer cells (tumor lysis syndrome). To lower your risk, drink plenty of fluids unless your doctor directs you otherwise. Also, your doctor may prescribe an additional medication. Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms such as: low back/side pain (flank pain), pink/bloody urine, change in the amount of urine, painful urination, muscle spasms/weakness.
Bendamustine can commonly cause a reaction with symptoms of rash, itching, fever, and chills. This reaction is usually not serious. However, you may not be able to tell it apart from a rare allergic reaction that could be severe. Therefore, get medical help right away if you develop any of the following symptoms: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using bendamustine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients (such as mannitol), which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Bendamustine can make you more likely to get infections or may worsen any current infections. Therefore, do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor, and avoid contact with people who have recently received oral polio vaccine or flu vaccine inhaled through the nose. Also avoid contact with people who have infections that may spread to others (such as chickenpox, flu). Wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infections.
To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.
This drug may make you dizzy or cause tiredness. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness or clear vision until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.
This drug is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It may harm an unborn baby. It is important to prevent pregnancy while using this medication and for 3 months after treatment. Therefore, males and females must use reliable forms of birth control (such as condoms, birth control pills) during treatment and for 3 months following the end of treatment with this drug. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, or if your partner becomes pregnant, tell your doctor immediately.
It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. However, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
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: live vaccines (e.g., typhoid vaccine taken by mouth, flu vaccine inhaled through the nose).
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include fast/irregular heartbeat and fainting.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., complete blood count, liver and kidney function tests) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor immediately to establish a new dosing schedule.
Not applicable. This medication is given in a clinic and will not be stored at home.
MEDICAL ALERT: Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised October 2014. Copyright(c) 2014 First Databank, Inc.
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