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How It Works
Vinorelbine interferes with the cell's ability to reproduce. Vinorelbine is an intravenous (IV) medicine. The type and extent of a cancer determines the exact dose and schedule of administering this medicine.
Why It Is Used
Vinorelbine slows or stops the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body. It is used to treat cancers, such as non-small cell lung cancer, breast cancer, and bladder cancer.
How Well It Works
Vinorelbine 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:
- Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
- Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
- If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
- Trouble breathing.
- Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor right away if you have:
- Any signs of infection, such as a fever or chills.
- Shortness of breath, cough, or chest pain.
- Belly pain or constipation.
- Urine that is dark.
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice). This may mean the medicine has damaged your liver.
Common side effects of this medicine include:
- A lack of energy (fatigue) caused by anemia.
- Swelling or pain at the injection site.
- Numbness or tingling of the hands or feet (peripheral neuropathy).
- Nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
- Diarrhea or constipation.
- Hair loss. This is reversible, and hair will grow back when treatment ends.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Vinorelbine should be administered only under the supervision of a medical oncologist. Your oncologist will regularly monitor your blood cell counts.
This medicine may cause serious problems with the large intestines, such as severe constipation, a blockage, a hole in the intestine, or dead tissue. These problems have caused some deaths.
Vinorelbine can damage the tissue around a vein if it leaks into the tissue while it is being given. Tell your doctor immediately if you notice any stinging or burning around the vein while the medicine is being given.
You may not be able to become pregnant or father a child after taking this medicine. Talk with your doctor about fertility before starting treatment.
Taking this medicine may cause sun sensitivity and easy sunburn. Wear a hat and sunscreen of SPF 30 when you are outdoors, and stay out of the sun as much as possible.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Advice for women
Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant. If you need to use this medicine, talk to your doctor about how you can prevent pregnancy.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Other Works Consulted
- Abramowicz M (2003). Treatment guidelines: Drugs of choice for cancer. Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics, 1(7): 41–52.
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