Melphalan is used to treat cancer of the blood, ovary, skin and soft tissue (e.g. muscle, fat, blood vessels, or other supporting tissue of the body).
This medicine may also be used to treat neuroblastoma (cancer of nervous system) in children.
Melphalan is to be injected into the vein (intravenously) via drip. It is delivered into the bloodstream via the blood vessel.
Your doctor or nurse will administer the injection for you.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the course of the treatment depending on your condition and response to the medication.
Ensure that you keep all appointments with your doctor so that you do not miss any dose. Your doctor also needs to regularly monitor your response to Melphalan.
If you miss an appointment or miss an injection with your doctor, alert your doctor or nurse. A replacement appointment or infusion should be given as soon as possible.
Do not use Melphalan if you are on your first trimester of pregnancy or planning to have a baby soon. If you become pregnant while being treated with this medicine, alert your doctor immediately. Melphalan may cause harm to your unborn child.
It is important that you do not get pregnant or father a child while being treated with this medicine. You must use proven birth control methods while using this medicine. You may wish to discuss birth control methods with your doctor or pharmacist.
Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with this medicine.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- have recently received or currently receiving radiation therapy or chemotherapy
- kidney disease
- blood disorders
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving this medicine to an elderly. Elderly may be more sensitive to the side effects.
Inform your doctor if you have been recently vaccinated. Do not receive any vaccinations without first asking your doctor.
For as long as you are using this medicine, you may need to have regular blood tests to check your body’s response to the medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have blood tests.
Melphalan may cause dizziness. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.
This medicine may cause the level of your red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets to drop.
Red blood cells carry oxygen around your body. A fall in the level of red blood cells may make you feel tired and worn out.
White blood cells help your body to fight infections. A fall in the level of your white blood cells may put you at higher risk for infections, such as coughs, colds and flu, which may lead to more serious infections. Avoid crowded places and people who are sick. Alert your doctor if you have a fever, or a cough or flu that does not go away.
Platelets help your blood to clot when there is a cut in the skin. A fall in the level of your platelets may put you at risk of bleeding more than usual. Do not take part in activities where you may fall or get injured, such as contact sports. Alert your doctor if you get any unusual bruising (large bruises or several bruises, especially if the bruises appeared on their own) or bleeding that takes a long time to stop (for example, too much bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth).
Other side effects include any of the following: swelling of the ankles, feet or hand, fatigue, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, mouth sore, muscle weakness, cramping or numbness, and injection site pain or swelling.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following: rashes, breathlessness, swollen mouth or eyes.
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- nalidixic acid (antibiotic)
- ciclosporin (medicines used in organ transplant or certain immune disorders)
- other medicines used to treat cancer e.g. cisplatin, carmustine
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Melphalan.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children. Protect from light.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.