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.
Blood clotting: This medication can reduce the number of platelet cells in the blood and increase your risk of bleeding. Tell your doctor immediately if you notice any signs that your blood is not clotting as quickly as usual (e.g., 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.
Cardiovascular effects: Vinblastine has effects on the heart and circulatory (blood vessels) system. It may cause increased blood pressure. Reports of heart attack, stroke, and a constriction of the blood vessels called Raynaud's phenomenon have been reported with the use of vinblastine.
If you have heart disease, high blood pressure, or other diseases of the heart and blood system, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Gout: Vinblastine may increase the levels of uric acid in the body and increase the risk for gout. If you have gout or a history of gout, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. Report any unusual joint pain or swelling to your doctor as soon as possible.
Grapefruit juice: Grapefruit juice may prevent vinblastine from leaving the body normally. This causes an increase in the amount of vinblastine in the body and may lead to severe side effects. Avoid drinking grapefruit juice while you are receiving treatment with vinblastine.
Infection: In addition to 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 with 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.
Liver function: Side effects of vinblastine may be more likely with people with decreased liver function. If you have reduced liver function or liver disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Nerve problems: Vinblastine may cause nerve damage. This often goes away when treatment is stopped or the dose is decreased. If you experience reduced hearing, difficulty speaking, tingling and numbness of your hands and feet, or severe jaw pain, let your doctor know.
Reproduction: Vinblastine can affect sperm production and ovary function. For some people, this may reverse when treatment is complete. If you have concerns about the effect this medication has on your ability to have children, talk to your doctor.
Pregnancy: There is a possibility of birth defects if either the father or mother is using vinblastine at the time of conception, or if it is used during pregnancy. It may also harm the baby in other ways if used 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: This medication may pass into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are using vinblastine, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: Vinblastine has been used to treat cancer in children. It should be prescribed and given only by doctors familiar with treating cancer in children.
Seniors: Seniors may be at increased risk for developing infection or bleeding problems when using vinblastine.