April 28, 2017
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Busulfex Patient Information Including Side Effects

Brand Names: Busulfex, Myleran

Generic Name: busulfan (Pronunciation: bue SUL fan)

What is busulfan (Busulfex)?

Busulfan is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Busulfan is used to treat the symptoms of chronic myelogenous leukemia (a type of blood cancer). Busulfan is not a cure for leukemia.

Busulfan may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of busulfan (Busulfex)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, trouble concentrating;
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
  • signs of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms, loss of appetite, weight loss, unusual weakness, mouth and throat ulcers, rapid and shallow breathing;
  • weight gain, stomach swelling or tenderness, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • coughing up blood;
  • stomach pain, vomiting, sharp chest pain, trouble breathing;
  • lower back pain, blood in your urine, urinating less than usual or not at all;
  • confusion, jerking muscle movements, muscle tightness or contraction, overactive reflexes, muscle weakness or limp feeling, leg discomfort, numbness or tingly feeling around your mouth;
  • fast, slow, or uneven heart rate;
  • weak pulse, feeling short of breath, confusion, fainting;
  • seizure (convulsions); or
  • persistent cough, congestion, low fever, feeling short of breath (these symptoms may occur several months or years after using busulfan).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • headache;
  • diarrhea, constipation, nausea, upset stomach;
  • flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling);
  • swelling or irritation around the IV needle;
  • missed menstrual periods; or
  • hair loss, darkened skin color.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the Busulfex (busulfan) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects

What is the most important information I should know about busulfan (Busulfex)?

You should not use busulfan if you are allergic to it.

Do not use busulfan without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Before you receive busulfan, tell your doctor if you have a weak immune system, a seizure disorder, a history of head injury or breathing problems, or if you have recently received other cancer medications or radiation treatment.

Busulfan can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections. Your blood will need to be tested on a weekly or monthly basis. Your liver function may also need to be tested on a regular basis. Busulfan can have long-lasting effects on your body. Do not miss any follow-up visits to your doctor for blood or urine tests.

Contact your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms, easy bruising or bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums), weight loss, mouth sores, or unusual weakness.

Some people treated with busulfan have developed new forms of cancer. Talk to your doctor about your specific risks and benefits of using this medication.

Side Effects Centers

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration


You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Women's Health

Find out what women really need.