Busulfan is used together with other medicines to prepare you before undergoing bone marrow or stem cell transplantation.
Busulfan is to be given intravenously (into the vein) via a drip. It is delivered directly into the bloodstream via the blood vessel.
Your doctor or nurse will administer the injection for you.
Before the drip is started, you may be given other medicines to prevent or lessen the side effects of Busulfan. These medicines may be given as tablets or as injections.
The dose and schedule of administration of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the course of treatment depending on your response to the medication.
Ensure that you keep all appointments with your doctor so that you do not miss any doses. Your doctor also needs to regularly monitor your response to Busulfan.
If you miss an appointment or miss an injection, alert your doctor or nurse. A replacement appointment or injection should be given as soon as possible.
Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with Busulfan.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- previous radiation therapy, chemotherapy of ≥3 cycles, or bone marrow transplantation
- history of epilepsy (fits or seizures)
- head trauma
- acute porphyria (an inherited disorder that causes skin or nervous system abnormalities)
- Fanconi’s anaemia (an inherited blood disorder that affects the bone marrow)
- kidney disease
- liver disease
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant.
It is important that you do not get pregnant during and for 6 months after stopping the treatment with Busulfan. You may wish to discuss birth control methods with your doctor.
This medicine can sometimes reduce fertility in men. Men should not father a child while being treated with this medicine and must use proven birth control methods during Busulfan therapy and for up to 6 months after stopping the treatment. You may wish to discuss reliable methods of birth control with your doctor.
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving Busulfan to a child. Children may be more sensitive to the side effects.
Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Pregnancy tests must be done before initiation of treatment to know if this medicine is suited for you to use.
- Routine tests (e.g. complete blood count, platelet count; heart, liver, and kidney function) may be done while you are being treated with Busulfan.
- Regular monitoring for signs and symptoms of adverse reactions in the blood, lungs, heart, and liver may also be needed.
Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have these tests.
Busulfan may cause any of the following side effects: headache, dizziness, nose bleeds, nausea, vomiting, mouth ulcers, hiccup, diarrhoea, indigestion, constipation, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, back, joint or muscle pain; pain when passing urine, pain at the injection site, hair loss, rash, itching, and appearance of dark patches on the skin.
This medicine may cause irregular or absence of menstrual periods and early start of menopause in women. It may also affect testicle size in men. Discuss with your doctor if you are concerned about these side effects.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- cough accompanied by chest pain, breathlessness, and fever
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- fits or seizures
- yellowing of the skin or eyes, abdominal pain, dark coloured urine, tiredness, swelling in the legs and ankles
Busulfan will 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).
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:
- other medicines for cancer e.g. tioguanine
- metronidazole (antibiotic)
- itraconazole (medicine to treat fungal infection)
- phenytoin (medicine for epilepsy [fits or seizures])
- paracetamol (medicine to relieve pain and reduce fever)
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Busulfan.
Avoid vaccinations with live vaccines during treatment with this medicine. Inform your doctor if you have been recently vaccinated or if you are planning to get vaccinated.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics, such as traditional Chinese medicine, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in the refrigerator, between 2-8°C.
Do not allow the diluted solution 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 medicine to the clinic, hospital, or pharmacy for disposal. Do not throw it away in the household waste.