It treats certain types of cancer and can cause tingling and numbness in the fingers and toes.
Vincristine has been used with other medications for certain types of cancer. Cancer types include Hodgkin lymphoma , acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), Wilms tumor (a form of pediatric kidney cancer ), rhabdomyosarcoma, and neuroblastoma.
It has also been used to treat the following blood disorders: thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP).
This medicine comes in a liposome injection, as well as an injection that will be given directly into a vein (IV) by a healthcare provider. It is usually given once a week.
Common side effects of vincristine include hair loss, nausea, constipation , fatigue (feeling tired), and peripheral neuropathy (weakness, numbness, and pain, usually in the hands and feet).
Brand names of the drug vincristine
The drug vincristine can be found in some form under the following brand names:
Common side effects of vincristine include:
- Hair loss.
- A decrease in white blood cells and platelet counts.
- Fatigue (feeling tired)
- Peripheral neuropathy (weakness, numbness, and pain, usually in the hands and feet).
- Changes in taste and appetite
- Mouth ulcers
The side effects listed below are serious and need to be reported to your doctor within 24 hours of noticing:
- Vomiting more than four to five times in a day.
- Diarrhea more than four to five times in a day.
- Unusual bleeding or bruising.
- Severe stomach pain
- Blood in the urine or stools (this may look like black or tarry stools).
Use a reliable method of birth control while receiving vincristine treatments.
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. In particular, tell your doctor if you take:
- Certain antifungals such as itraconazole (Sporanox) and ketoconazole (Nizoral).
- Certain antibiotics such as clarithromycin (Biaxin, in Prevpac), erythromycin (EES, E-Mycin, others).
- Tolterodine (Detrol, Detrol LA).
Do not receive vaccinations without first consulting your doctor.
It is extremely important that the IV needle that delivers vincristine is placed correctly into the vein. If not, the drug can cause severe blisters and damage to the surrounding tissue. If you notice irritation, swelling, or redness at the IV site, notify your doctor or nurse immediately.
With repeated doses of vincristine, you may feel symptoms of peripheral neuropathy (tingling and numbness in the fingers and toes). This should be reported to your doctor immediately.
Notify your doctor if you have a fever, cough, or decreased appetite.
Report any burns or local irritations immediately during or after the infusion.
People with Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome should not receive vincristine.
Considerations to inform your doctor
Before receiving this medicine, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Tell your doctor especially if:
- You are allergic to vincristine or any of its ingredients.
- You have heart, liver, nerve, or muscle disease.
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Vincristine and pregnancy
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
The FDA classifies drugs according to their safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories: A, B, C, D and X, are used to classify the possible risks to the fetus when taking a drug during pregnancy.
This medicine belongs to category D. Vincristine can cause birth defects in the baby if you are already pregnant. Both men and women should not think about conceiving a baby while taking vincristine. Your doctor can tell you when it will be safe to do so after treatment.
Vincristine and lactation
Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or if you plan to breastfeed. It is not known if vincristine is excreted in breast milk or if it will affect a nursing baby.
Vincristine is for intravenous (into the vein) use only. Your doctor will choose the correct dose for your situation and in most cases will administer the injection in his office or clinic.
Vincasar PFS (vincristine injection)
The usual dose for children is 1.5 to 2 mg / m2. For children weighing 10 kg or less, the starting dose should be 0.05 mg / kg, given once a week. The usual dose for adults is 1.4 mg / m2. A dose reduction may be necessary for patients with other medical conditions or receiving other medications.
Marquibo (vincristina liposomal)
The recommended dose of Marqibo is 2.25 mg / m2 intravenously over 1 hour once every 7 days.
Keep all scheduled appointments with your doctor and all laboratory appointments. This medicine can cause a decrease in blood cells.
Drink plenty of water while receiving vincristine treatments, unless instructed not to, to help prevent constipation and dehydration.
A good diet and nutrition will be helpful, in addition to eating foods that will help reduce the effects of diarrhea.
People taking vincristine may be at risk for infections, so avoiding crowds or other people with contagious diseases can help. Always maintain good hygiene and wash your hands frequently.