Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Alcohol: Avoid drinking alcohol while using this medication and for a few days after stopping the medication. Drinking alcohol while using procarbazine can lead to unpleasant symptoms such as nausea, flushing, racing heartbeat, and feelings of faintness. This reaction appears 5 to 10 minutes after drinking alcohol and can last from 30 minutes to several hours.
Blood clotting: This medication can reduce the number of platelet cells in the blood. Platelets help the blood to clot, and a shortage could make you bleed more easily. Tell your doctor of any signs that your blood is not clotting as quickly as usual. Such symptoms may include black and tarry stools, blood in the urine, easy bruising, or cuts that won't stop bleeding. Your doctor will do blood tests regularly to monitor the number of platelets in your blood.
Damage to cells: This medication can potentially cause other forms of cancer, such as lung cancer and acute myelocytic leukemia (AML), when given in combination with other anticancer medications. The risk of developing lung cancer is increased with tobacco use. Birth defects and temporary or permanent fertility problems in both men and women may also occur. Permanent nerve damage has also occurred with procarbazine use.
Dietary precautions: Severe reactions including sudden headache, flushed face, rapid, pounding heartbeat, nausea, vomiting, and dangerously high blood pressure may occur when foods with a high tyramine content are eaten while taking this medication. Examples of these foods include wine, yogurt, ripe cheese, and bananas. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a list of foods that should be avoided.
Infection: As well as killing cancer cells, this medication can reduce the number of cells that fight infection in the body (white blood cells). If possible, avoid contact with people who have contagious infections. Tell your doctor immediately if you begin to notice signs of an infection, such as fever or chills, severe diarrhea, shortness of breath, prolonged dizziness, headache, stiff neck, weight loss, or listlessness. Your doctor will do blood tests regularly to monitor the number of specific types of blood cells in your blood.
Kidney function: Procarbazine is removed from the body by the kidneys. People with reduced kidney function should discuss with their doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Liver function: Procarbazine is removed from the body by the liver. People with reduced liver function should discuss with their doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Pregnancy: There is a possibility of birth defects if either the father or mother is taking procarbazine at the time of conception, or if it is taken during pregnancy. This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. Use effective birth control while you are being treated with this medication. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if procarbazine passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children. Children may be at an increased risk of side effects and must be monitored closely by the doctor.