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IMPORTANT: HOW TO USE THIS INFORMATION: This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.
MELPHALAN - ORAL
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Alkeran
WARNING: Melphalan may cause serious blood disorders (decreased bone marrow function leading to low number of white blood cells/platelets and anemia). It can lower your body's ability to fight an infection and increase your risk of bleeding. Higher doses and taking this medication more frequently increase the chance of these side effects. Your doctor will monitor you and perform blood tests, usually weekly at first. Your dose and any further treatment will be based on your blood tests. Keep all medical/lab appointments.
Tell your doctor immediately if you develop easy bleeding or bruising, unusual tiredness, or signs of an infection (e.g., persistent sore throat, fever).
Melphalan may increase your risk of certain cancers (e.g., leukemia, carcinoma). Your doctor will monitor you carefully.
Melphalan has caused birth defects in unborn babies. Women of child-bearing age must avoid becoming pregnant while taking this medication. (See also Precautions section.)
USES: This medication is used to treat certain types of cancer (multiple myeloma, ovarian cancer). Melphalan belongs to a class of drugs known as alkylating agents. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.
HOW TO USE: Take this medication by mouth, usually once a day as directed by your doctor. Your doctor may direct you to take this medication on an empty stomach. Follow your doctor's directions closely.
The dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, and blood counts. The dosing of this medication is different for everyone. Your doctor may direct you to take it daily for several weeks, followed by several weeks of not taking the drug, and then direct you to take it daily again. Other patients may take it for only a few days, and then repeat the treatment every few weeks. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about this medication. It is very important that you understand exactly how to take this medication to get the most benefit and to lower your chance of serious side effects.
Unless your doctor instructs you otherwise, drink plenty of fluids while taking this medication. This helps your kidneys to remove the drug from your body and avoid some of the side effects.
Do not increase your dose or take this medication more often than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and the risk of serious side effects may be increased. Do not stop taking this medication without talking with your doctor, even if you feel nauseated or experience vomiting. If you vomit shortly after a dose, or if you miss a dose, contact your doctor immediately.
It may take several months before you see a benefit from this drug.
Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from the tablets. All people should wash their hands carefully after handling this drug.
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