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The eMC  

Last Updated 04 Jun 2009

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Vincristine 1mg/1ml solution for injection vials

Vincristine sulphate (Vin-chris-teen sul-fate) is a medicine which is used in a number of conditions.

The information in this Medicine Guide for Vincristine sulphate varies according to the condition being treated and the particular preparation used.

There are 3 preparations of Vincristine sulphate available. If Vincristine 1mg/1ml solution for injection vials is not the preparation you are looking for, please select from the drop down list below.

Select your preparation (type) of Vincristine sulphate

Vincristine 1mg/1ml solution for injection vials

Information specific to Vincristine 1mg/1ml solution for injection vials when used in Wilms' tumour

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Your medicine

Vincristine sulphate is used to treat certain types of cancers. Vincristine sulphate may be used alone or with other medicines to treat cancer.

Your medical team will discuss with you the options for treating your cancer. They will take into account factors such as the type of cancer, where it is, which stage it is at and whether you have had treatment before. The results of blood tests and other investigations will also be considered. How well you feel and how you are likely to cope with treatment is also important.

Your cancer treatment will usually consist of a treatment session with Vincristine sulphate followed by a break of a number of days before the next treatment session with Vincristine sulphate. This cycle may be repeated many times as part of your cancer treatment.

Vincristine sulphate works by damaging cancer cells in the body. Vincristine sulphate also affects healthy cells and treatment with Vincristine sulphate may damage your immune system. Your medical team may arrange for you to have some blood tests to check how well your immune system is working.

Vincristine sulphate is an injection that is usually given by a healthcare professional. The person responsible for giving you your medicine will make sure that you get the right dose.

If you feel that the medicine is making you unwell or you do not think it is working, then talk to your prescriber or someone involved in your medical care.

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When to take your medicine

The person with responsibility for giving you your medicine will make sure that you have your medicine at the prescribed times.

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How to take your medicine

This medicine will be given to you as an injection. If you have any concerns about this medicine or how this will be given to you, talk to someone who is involved in your medical care.

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Taking too much of your medicine

Having extra doses of some medicines can be harmful. In some cases even one extra dose can cause you problems.

In the case of Vincristine sulphate, the person who is responsible for giving you your medicine will make sure that you are given the correct dose.

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Stopping your medicine

The person in charge of your care will make the decision about whether you should stop this medicine. If you experience any problems while having this medicine, talk to someone who is involved in your medical care.

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Looking after your medicine

As Vincristine sulphate will be given to you as an injection, it will usually be stored by the medical team.

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Whether this medicine is suitable for you

Vincristine sulphate is not suitable for everyone and some people should never use it. Other people should only use it with special care. It is important that the person prescribing this medicine knows your full medical history.

Your prescriber may only prescribe this medicine with special care or may not prescribe it at all if you:

  • are a woman who could become pregnant
  • are allergic or sensitive to or have had a reaction to any of the ingredients in the medicine
  • are pregnant
  • are receiving radiation therapy in the area around the spinal cord or the liver
  • have an infection
  • have liver problems
  • have neuromuscular problems

As part of the process of assessing suitability to take this medicine a prescriber may also arrange tests:

  • to determine whether or not the medicine is suitable and whether it must be prescribed with extra caution
  • to check that this medicine is not having any undesired effects

Over time it is possible that Vincristine sulphate can become unsuitable for some people, or they may become unsuitable for it. If at any time it appears that Vincristine sulphate has become unsuitable, it is important that the prescriber is contacted immediately.

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Side-effects

A medicine is only made available to the public if the clinical trials have shown that the benefits of taking the medicine outweigh the risks.

Once a medicine has been licensed, information on the medicine's effects, both intended and unintended, is continuously recorded and updated.

Some side-effects may be serious while others may only be a mild inconvenience.

Everyone's reaction to a medicine is different. It is difficult to predict which side-effects you will have from taking a particular medicine, or whether you will have any side-effects at all. The important thing is to tell your prescriber or pharmacist if you are having problems with your medicine.

The frequency of these side-effects is unknown:

  • adrenal problems
  • allergic reactions including oedema or anaphylaxis
  • amenorrhoea
  • balance problems
  • blood pressure changes
  • blood problems - tell your prescriber if you get any infection during treatment with Vincristine sulphate
  • bronchospasm
  • constipation
  • convulsions - this may lead to coma in children
  • deafness
  • dehydration
  • diarrhoea
  • difficult or painful urination
  • dizziness
  • ear or hearing problems
  • eye or eyesight problems including blindness
  • fever
  • gastrointestinal problems
  • hair loss
  • headaches
  • heart attack and heart problems in people who have been given Vincristine sulphate with other anti-cancer treatments
  • injection site problems - if Vincristine sulphate leaks out of the vein, it may cause irritation, cellulitis or ulcers
  • kidney problems
  • loss of appetite
  • metabolic problems
  • mouth ulcers
  • nausea
  • nerve and muscle problems including nerve pain, muscle wasting, muscle pain and tenderness, sensory problems, paraesthesiae, walking difficulties, foot drop, loss of tendon reflexes, paresis, or balance and coordination difficulties
  • pain including back pain, jaw pain, salivary gland pain, throat pain, bone pain, arm, leg pain or stomach pain
  • reduced sperm count
  • shortness of breath
  • skin rash or rashes
  • stomach cramps
  • urinary retention
  • urinating more often
  • vertigo
  • vomiting
  • weight loss

If you feel unwell or if you have concerns about a side-effect, tell the person looking after you immediately.

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Taking other medicines

If you are taking more than one medicine they may interact with each other. At times your prescriber may decide to use medicines that interact, in other cases this may not be appropriate.

The decision to use medicines that interact depends on your specific circumstances. Your prescriber may decide to use medicines that interact, if it is believed that the benefits of taking the medicines together outweigh the risks. In such cases, it may be necessary to alter your dose or monitor you more closely.

Tell your prescriber the names of all the medicines that you are taking so that they can consider all possible interactions. This includes all the medicines which have been prescribed by your GP, hospital doctor, dentist, nurse, health visitor, midwife or pharmacist. You must also tell your prescriber about medicines which you have bought over the counter without prescriptions.

The following medicines may interact with Vincristine sulphate:

The following types of medicine may interact with Vincristine sulphate:

If you are taking Vincristine sulphate and one of the above medicines or types of medicines, make sure your prescriber knows about it.

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Complementary preparations and vitamins

Medicines can interact with complementary preparations and vitamins. In general, there is not much information available about interactions between medicines and complementary preparations or vitamins.

If you are planning to take or are already taking any complementary preparations and vitamins you should ask your prescriber whether there are any known interactions with Vincristine sulphate.

Your prescriber can advise whether it is appropriate for you to take combinations that are known to interact. They can also discuss with you the possible effect that the complementary preparations and vitamins may have on your condition.

If you experience any unusual effects while taking this medicine in combination with complementary preparations and vitamins, you should tell your prescriber.

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Driving and operating machinery

When taking any medicine you should be aware that it might interfere with your ability to drive or operate machinery safely.

In the case of Vincristine sulphate:

  • considerations about how this medicine affects driving or operating machinery do not apply to Vincristine sulphate
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Diet

Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your prescriber may advise you to avoid certain foods.

In the case of Vincristine sulphate:

  • there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when having Vincristine sulphate
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Alcohol

Alcohol can interact with certain medicines.

In the case of Vincristine sulphate:

  • there are no known interactions between alcohol and Vincristine sulphate
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Family planning and pregnancy

Most medicines, in some way, can affect the development of a baby in the womb. The effect on the baby differs between medicines and also depends on the stage of pregnancy that you have reached when you take the medicine.

In the case of Vincristine sulphate:

  • this medicine may harm your baby if taken during pregnancy
  • if you could become pregnant during treatment with Vincristine sulphate you must use effective contraception or abstain from penetrative sex. You must contact your prescriber if you become pregnant, or think you have become pregnant, while having Vincristine sulphate

You need to discuss your specific circumstances with your doctor to weigh up the overall risks and benefits of taking this medicine. You and your doctor can make a decision about whether you are going to take this medicine during pregnancy.

If the decision is that you should not have Vincristine sulphate, then you should discuss whether there is an alternative medicine that you could take during pregnancy.

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Breast-feeding

Certain medicines can pass into breast milk and may reach your baby through breast-feeding.

In the case of Vincristine sulphate:

  • it is not known whether this medicine passes into breast milk

Before you have your baby you should discuss breast-feeding with your doctor or midwife. They will help you decide what is best for you and your baby based on the benefits and risks associated with this medicine. If you wish to breast-feed you should discuss with your prescriber whether there are any other medicines you could take which would also allow you to breast-feed. You should not stop this medicine without taking advice from your doctor.

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Ingredients of your medicine

Medicines contain active ingredients. They may also contain other, additional ingredients that help ensure the stability, safety and effectiveness of the medicine. They may also be used to prolong the life of the medicine.

This medicine contains vincristine sulphate.

We are unable to list all of the ingredients for your medicine here. For a full list, you should refer to the patient information leaflet that comes with this medicine or ask your prescriber. You should check that you are able to take the ingredients of your medicine, especially if you have any allergies.

If you are not able to take any of the ingredients in your medicine, talk to your prescriber or pharmacist to see if they can suggest an alternative medicine. If you have reacted badly to Vincristine sulphate before, do not take Vincristine sulphate. Talk to your prescriber, pharmacist or nurse as soon as possible.

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Vincristine sulphate, Version 2, last updated 04 Jun 2009