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Bleomycin is a chemotherapy medicine used to treat
several types of cancers including
testicular cancer, lymphoma, and cancers of the head and
Bleomycin interferes with a cell's ability to divide and reproduce,
resulting in the death of the cell.
Bleomycin is used to slow or stop the spread of cancer cells in the
Bleomycin is an effective antitumor medicine. But the type
and extent of a cancer determines how effectively this medicine slows or
stops the growth of cancer cells in the body.
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
Call your doctor right away if you have:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
The most serious problem that can happen when you take this medicine is that it can cause scarring of the tissue in your lungs (pulmonary fibrosis). This is more likely to happen in elderly people or in people who get a high total dose.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference
is not available in all systems.)
Bleomycin should be administered only under the supervision of a
For both men and women, bleomycin can affect your ability to have
children. You may not be able to get pregnant or father a child after taking
this medicine. Discuss fertility with your doctor before starting treatment.
Bleomycin can cause birth defects. Do not use this medicine if
you are pregnant or wish to become pregnant or father a child while you are
Because bleomycin can damage the lungs, you may have tests to
measure the function of your lungs before your doctor prescribes bleomycin.
These tests may be repeated over the course of your treatment. Tell your doctor
if you have any shortness of breath or other problems breathing after you begin
If you have kidney, liver, or lung disease, talk to your doctor before taking bleomycin.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
January 4, 2013
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology
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