What is a Patient Information Leaflet and why is it useful?

The Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) is the leaflet included in the pack with a medicine. It is written for patients and gives information about taking or using a medicine. It is possible that the leaflet in your medicine pack may differ from this version because it may have been updated since your medicine was packaged.

Below is a text only representation of the Patient Information Leaflet. The original leaflet can be viewed using the link above.

The text only version may be available in large print, Braille or audio CD. For further information call emc accessibility on 0800 198 5000. The product code(s) for this leaflet is: PL 31750/0136 .


Melphalan 50 mg powder and solvent for solution for injection/infusion

Package leaflet: Information for the patient

Melphalan 50 mg powder and solvent for solution for injection/infusion

melphalan

Read all of this leaflet carefully before you start using this medicine because it contains important information for you.

  • Keep this leaflet. You may need to read it again.
  • If you have any further questions, ask your doctor or nurse.
  • If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed in this leaflet. See section 4.

What is in this leaflet

1. What Melphalan is and what it is used for
2. What you need to know before you are given Melphalan
3. How Melphalan will be given
4. Possible side effects
5. How to store Melphalan
6. Contents of the pack and other information

1. What Melphalan is and what it is used for

Melphalan contains a medicine called melphalan. This belongs to a group of medicines called cytotoxics (also called chemotherapy). Melphalan is used to treat cancer. It works by reducing the number of abnormal cells your body makes.

Melphalan is used for:

  • multiple myeloma (a type of cancer that develops from cells in the bone marrow called plasma cells. Plasma cells help to fight infection and disease by producing antibodies)
  • advanced cancer of the ovaries
  • childhood neuroblastoma (cancer of the nervous system)
  • malignant melanoma (skin cancer)
  • soft tissue sarcoma (cancer of the muscle, fat, fibrous tissue, blood vessels, or other supporting tissue of the body).

You must talk to a doctor if you do not feel better or if you feel worse.

2. What you need to know before you are given Melphalan

You should NOT be given Melphalan if any of following apply to you. Tell your doctor if:

  • you are allergic to melphalan or any of the other ingredients of this medicine (listed in section 6)
  • you are breastfeeding.

Warnings and precautions

Before treatment with Melphalan, tell your doctor if any of the following apply to you:

  • you have had radiotherapy or chemotherapy, now or recently
  • you have a kidney problem
  • you are going to have a vaccination or were recently vaccinated. This is because some vaccines (like polio, measles, mumps and rubella) may give you an infection if you have them whilst you are being treated with Melphalan.
  • you have a blood clot in your leg (thrombosis), lung (pulmonary embolism) or any other part of your body, or have ever had it
  • you have a condition that gives you an increased chance of getting a blood clot in you arteries
  • men who are receiving Melphalan should not father a child during treatment and up to 3 months afterwards.

Other medicines and Melphalan

Tell your doctor or nurse if you are taking or have recently taken any other medicines, including medicines obtained without a prescription.

In particular, tell your doctor or nurse if you are taking any of the following

  • other cytotoxic drugs (chemotherapy)
  • nalidixic acid (an antibiotic used to treat urinary tract infections)
  • ciclosporin (used to prevent rejection following a transplant, to treat certain skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema or to treat rheumatoid arthritis)
  • vaccines which contain live organisms (see Warnings and precautions)
  • in children, busulfan (used to treat certain type of cancer).

Pregnancy, breastfeeding and fertility

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, think you may be pregnant or are planning to have a baby, ask your doctor for advice before this medicine is given.

Pregnancy

Treatment with Melphalan is not recommended during pregnancy because it may cause permanent damage to a foetus. If you are already pregnant, it is important to talk to your doctor before being given Melphalan. Your doctor will consider the risks and benefits to you and your baby of treatment with Melphalan.

Reliable contraceptive precautions must be taken to avoid pregnancy whilst you or your partner are having this injection/infusion.

Breastfeeding

It is unknown whether Melphalan is excreted in human breast milk. Do not breastfeed while being given Melphalan.

Fertility

Melphalan can affect ovaries or sperm, which may cause infertility (inability to have a baby). In women, menstruation can stop (amenorrhoea) and in men, a complete lack of sperm can be observed (azoospermia) as a result of Melphalan treatment. Therefore men are advised to have a consultation on sperm preservation before treatment.

Male and female contraception

It is recommended that men who are receiving Melphalan do not father a child during treatment and up to 3 months afterwards. Talk to your doctor if you would like to use effective and reliable contraceptives.

Driving and using machines

Effects on the ability to drive and operate machinery in patients taking this medicine have not been studied. It is not expected that this medicine will affect the ability to drive or operate machines.

Melphalan contains sodium

This medicine contains less than 1 mmol sodium (23 mg) per vial, that is to say essentially ‘sodium-free’.

Melphalan contains ethanol (alcohol)

This medicine contains 5% ethanol (alcohol), equivalent to 10 ml beer or 2.4 ml wine per dose. Harmful for those suffering from alcoholism.

To be taken into account in pregnant or breastfeeding women, children and high-risk groups such as patients with liver disease, or epilepsy.

Melphalan contains propylene glycol

May cause alcohol-like symptoms.

3. How Melphalan will be given

Melphalan will only be given to you by doctors or nurses experienced in giving chemotherapy.

Method of administration

Melphalan can be given

  • as an infusion (drip) into your vein
  • into an artery, administered to a certain body part (perfusion).

How much Melphalan is given

Your doctor will decide how much Melphalan you will be given. The amount of Melphalan depends on

  • your body weight or body surface area (a specific measurement taking into account your weight and your size)
  • other drugs you are having
  • your disease
  • your age
  • whether or not you have kidney problems.

When you are given Melphalan, your doctor will take regular blood tests. This is to check the number of cells in your blood. Your doctor may change your dose as a result of these tests.

Risk of blood clots(thromboembolic events)

Your doctor will decide if you should receive a preventive treatment for blood clots in the veins. This applies during the first 5 months of treatment, or if you have an increased risk for developing a blood clot in the veins.

Use in children

Melphalan is only rarely used in children. Dosing guidelines for children are not available.

Use in elderly

There are no specific dosage adjustments for the elderly.

Use in patients with impaired renal function

If you have a kidney problem, your doctor will usually give you a lower dose than other adults.

If you are given more Melphalan than you should

Your doctor will give you Melphalan so it is unlikely that you will receive too much. If you think you have been given too much or have missed a dose, tell your doctor or nurse.

If you forget to use Melphalan

Your doctor will give you Melphalan so it is unlikely that you will miss a dose of this medicine. If you think you have missed a dose, skip that dose and you will be given next dose at the next prescribed time. Do not use a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose.

If you stop using Melphalan

If you feel you should stop using this medicine, consult your doctor first.

If you have any further questions on the use of this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

4. Possible side effects

Like all medicines, this medicine can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.

Serious side effects

If you get any of the following, talk to your specialist doctor or go to hospital straight away:

  • allergic reaction, the signs may include:
    • a rash, lumps or hives on the skin
    • swollen face, eyelids or lips
    • sudden wheeziness and tightness of the chest
    • collapse (due to cardiac arrest)
  • any signs of fever or infection (sore throat, sore mouth or urinary problems)
  • any unexpected bruising or bleeding or feeling extremely tired, dizzy or breathless, as this could mean that too few blood cells of a particular type are being produced
  • if you suddenly feel unwell (even with a normal temperature)
  • if your muscles are achy, stiff or weak and your urine is darker than usual or brown or red in colour when you are given Melphalan directly into your arm or leg.

Tell your doctor immediately if you have symptoms of blood clots in the veins, especially in the legs. Symptoms include swelling, pain and reddening of the leg. Blood clots can travel through the blood vessels to the lungs, causing pain on the chest and difficulties in breathing.

Other side effects include:

Very common side effects (may affect more than 1 in 10 people)

  • fever
  • a fall in the number of blood cells and platelets
  • feeling sick (nausea), being sick (vomiting) and diarrhoea
  • mouth ulcers (with high doses of Melphalan)
  • hair loss (with high doses of Melphalan)
  • a tingling or warm feeling where Melphalan was injected
  • problems with your muscles like wasting and aching when you are given Melphalan directly into your arm or leg.

Common side effects (may affect up to 1 in 10 people)

  • hair loss with usual doses of Melphalan
  • high levels of a chemical called urea in your blood in people with kidney problems who are being treated for myeloma
  • a muscle problem which can cause pain, tightness, tingling, burning or numbness called compartment syndrome. This can happen when you are given Melphalan directly into your arm or leg.

Rare side effects (may affect up to 1 in 1,000 people)

  • an illness where you have a low number of red blood cells as they are being destroyed prematurely. This can make you feel very tired, breathless and dizzy and can give you headaches or make your skin or eyes yellow
  • lung problems which may make you cough or wheeze and make it difficult to breathe
  • liver problems which may show up in your blood tests or cause jaundice (yellowing of the whites of eyes and skin)
  • mouth ulcers with normal doses of Melphalan
  • skin rashes or itching skin.

Not known (frequency cannot be estimated from the available data)

  • leukaemia (cancer of the blood)
  • in women: your periods stopping (amenorrhoea)
  • in men: absence of sperm in the semen (azoospermia)
  • death of muscle tissue (muscle necrosis)
  • breakdown of muscle fibers (rhabdomyolysis)
  • formation of a blood clot, a so-called thrombus, in a deep vein, especially in the legs (deep venous thrombosis) and closure of a pulmonary artery (pulmonary embolism).

Reporting of side effects

If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. This includes any possible side effects not listed in this leaflet. You can also report side effects directly via the Yellow Card Scheme at: www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard or search for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App Store. By reporting side effects you can help provide more information on the safety of this medicine.

5. How to store Melphalan

Keep this medicine out of the sight and reach of children.

Do not use this medicine after the expiry date which is stated on the label and the outer packaging after EXP. The expiry date refers to the last day of that month.

Do not store above 30°C. Do not refrigerate. Keep the vial in the outer carton in order to protect from light.

Your Melphalan will be prepared for use by a healthcare professional. Once prepared it should be used immediately and must not be stored or refrigerated.

Do not throw away any medicines via wastewater or household waste. Ask your pharmacist how to throw away medicines you no longer use. These measures will help protect the environment.

6. Contents of the pack and other information

What Melphalan contains

  • The active ingredient is melphalan hydrochloride. Each vial contains melphalan hydrochloride equivalent to 50 mg melphalan.
  • The other ingredients are povidone and hydrochloric acid. Melphalan is dissolved in 10 ml of solvent before being injected. The solvent contains water for injections, sodium citrate, propylene glycol and ethanol anhydrous.

What Melphalan looks like and contents of the pack

Each pack Melphalan contains one vial of Melphalan powder and one vial of solvent. The powder vial contains 50 mg of the active substance mephalan in a powder format and the solvent vial contains 10 ml of solvent in which to reconstitute (dissolve) the powder. The powder is a white to off-white freeze-dried powder or cake and the solvent is a clear colourless liquid/solution. After reconstitution with 10 ml of the solvent, the resultant solution contains 5 mg/ml melphalan.

Marketing Authorisation Holder

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Europe B.V.
Polarisavenue 87
2132 JH Hoofddorp
The Netherlands

Manufacturer

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Europe B.V.
Polarisavenue 87
2132 JH Hoofddorp
The Netherlands

S.C. Terapia S.A.
124 Fabricii Street
400632, Cluj-Napoca
Cluj County
Romania

This medicinal product is authorised in the Member States of the EEA under the following names:

Germany: Melphalan SUN

France: Melphalan SUN

Italy: Melfalan SUN

Netherlands: Melfalan hydrochloride SUN

Sweden: Melfalan SUN

United Kingdom: Melphalan

This leaflet was last revised in July 2018

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