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Bleomycin

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Antitumor Antibiotic Cancer-related

Bleomycin - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Bleomycin cause?

Early Side Effects (within days after receiving Bleomycin)

  • Fever and chills commonly occur shortly after treatment
    • This may be relieved by taking paracetamol
    • However, seek medical attention if your fever lasts for more than 24 hours after treatment, or if your fever is above 38°C

Delayed Side Effects (within days to weeks after receiving Bleomycin)

  • Skin reactions: redness, darkening in some areas, stretch marks, thickening
    • Your skin will slowly return to normal after stopping treatment.
  • Nail changes: thickening, discolouration, banding (appearance of lines)
    • Your nails will slowly return to normal after stopping treatment.
  • Temporary hair loss or thinning
    • Use a gentle shampoo to wash your hair.
  • Nausea or vomiting
    • Take the medications for nausea or vomiting as instructed by your doctor if any.
  • Poor appetite and weight loss
    • Take small, frequent meals throughout the day.
  • Mouth sores
    • Rinse your mouth after meals using an alcohol-free mouthwash or salt water.
    • Brush your teeth gently with a soft toothbrush.

Rare but serious side effects include:

  • Fever of 38°C and above, especially with chills
  • Very bad sore throat, changes in voice or mouth sores
  • Pain or burning feeling on passing urine
  • Very bad skin rash or itch
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, black sticky stools or blood in urine
  • Dry cough that does not go away or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or fast heartbeat
  • Allergic reaction – this may occur during or several hours after treatment

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body
  • Flushing
  • Dizziness

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see your healthcare professional immediately.

Before taking Bleomycin, what precautions must I follow?

​Inform your healthcare professional if:

  • You are allergic to this medication
  • You or your partner becomes pregnant or is planning for pregnancy
    • You should use effective birth control during treatment and for a period of time after you finish treatment.
    • Bleomycin may affect your ability to have children in the future. You may wish to discuss this with your doctor before starting treatment.
  • You are breastfeeding
    • Do not breastfeed during treatment
  • You are taking any other medication, supplements, traditional medications or herbal remedies

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Bleomycin?

​​Inform your healthcare professional if you are taking or intend to take any other medication, supplements, traditional medications or herbal remedies.

Bleomycin - Handling

How should I handle Bleomycin safely?

Bleomycin - Storage

How should I store Bleomycin?

How should I dispose of Bleomycin safely?

Bleomycin - Additional Information

​You may refer to the following website if you need more information: https://www.macmillan.org.uk/

  • Updated on Monday, September 30, 2019
  • Article contributed by PSS National Medication Information Workgroup PSS National Medication Information Workgroup

    The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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