Melphalan is used to treat cancer of the blood, breast and ovary.
This medicine may also be used to treat polycythaemia vera (a blood disease in which the body makes too many red blood cells).
Take Melphalan exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
Take it on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal. Try to take it at the same time each day.
Swallow the tablet whole. Do not divide, chew or crush it.
The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the course of your treatment depending on your condition.
Melphalan must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue to take this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed by your doctor.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Do not take 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 taking 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 taking 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 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: nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, mouth sores, and hair loss.
If you develop rashes, breathlessness, swollen mouth or eyes, stop taking this medicine and inform your doctor quickly. These could be signs of an allergic reaction.
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 the refrigerator, between 2-8 °C. Do not allow to freeze. If frozen, this medicine will become ineffective and should not be used.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.
As this is a cancer medicine, always return any unused or expired tablets to the clinic, hospital, or pharmacy for disposal. Do not throw it away in the household waste.