Busulfan

Busulfan injection

What is busulfan injection?
BUSULFAN (Busulfex™) is a type of chemotherapy used as part of the chemotherapy given before bone marrow transplantation. Busulfan may be used in combination with other cancer chemotherapy agents. Generic busulfan injection is not yet available.

What should my health care professional know before I take busulfan?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • blood disorders
  • bleeding problems
  • dental disease
  • gout
  • infection (especially virus infection such as chickenpox or herpes)
  • liver disease
  • previous radiation therapy
  • previous cancer chemotherapy
  • seizures
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to busulfan, other chemotherapy agents, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I take this medicine?
Busulfan injection is administered as an intravenous infusion over 2 hours in a hospital setting by a trained health care professional. You will typically receive this infusion every 6 hours for 16 doses or 4 days. You may receive other chemotherapy agents or radiation therapy in addition to the busulfan therapy.

Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?
This does not apply.

What drug(s) may interact with busulfan?

  • bosentan
  • digoxin
  • imatinib, STI-571
  • itraconazole
  • medicines used to suppress the immune system (such as cyclosporine)
  • other chemotherapy medicines
  • phenytoin
  • strontium-89 chloride
  • thioguanine
  • vaccines

Talk to your prescriber or health care professional before taking any of these medicines:

  • acetaminophen
  • aspirin
  • blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadinreg;)
  • clopidogrel
  • ibuprofen
  • naproxen
  • ticlopidine

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines that you are taking, including nonprescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also, tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from taking busulfan?
The side effects you may experience with busulfan therapy depend upon the dose, other types of chemotherapy or radiation therapy given, and the disease being treated. Not all of these effects occur in all patients. Discuss any concerns or questions with your prescriber or health care professional.

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • low blood counts - busulfan will decrease the number of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. You may be at increased risk for infections and bleeding.
  • signs of infection - fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine
  • signs of decreased platelets or bleeding - bruising, pinpoint red spots on the skin, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine
  • signs of decreased red blood cells - unusual weakness or tiredness, fainting spells, lightheadedness
  • blurred vision
  • chest pain
  • difficulty breathing
  • inflammation or pain at the injection site
  • irregular or rapid heart rate
  • lower back pain
  • seizures (convulsions)
  • vomiting
  • yellowing of eyes or skin

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • changes in color of nails and/or skin
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty sleeping
  • headache
  • heartburn
  • missed or irregular menstrual periods
  • nausea
  • stomach pains or cramps
  • weakness
  • weight loss

What should I watch for while taking busulfan?
Visit your prescriber or health care professional for checks on your progress. You will need to have regular blood checks. The side effects of busulfan can continue after you finish your treatment; report side effects promptly.

Busulfan may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon because busulfan affects good cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects as above, but continue your course of medicine even though you feel ill, unless your prescriber or health care professional tells you to stop.

Busulfan will decrease your body’s ability to fight infections. Call your prescriber or health care professional if you have a fever, chills, sore throat or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat these symptoms yourself. Try to avoid being around people who are sick. Busulfan may increase your risk to bruise or bleed. Call your prescriber or health care professional if you notice any unusual bleeding. Be careful not to cut, bruise or injure yourself because you may get an infection and bleed more than usual.

Avoid taking aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenolreg;), ibuprofen (Advilreg;) or naproxen (Alevereg;) products as these may mask a fever, unless instructed to by your prescriber or health care professional.

Be careful brushing and flossing your teeth or using a toothpick while receiving busulfan because you may get an infection or bleed more easily. If you have any dental work done, tell your dentist you are taking busulfan.

Do not have any vaccinations without your prescriber’s approval and avoid anyone who has recently had oral polio vaccine.

Call your prescriber or health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat, do not treat yourself.

Men and women of childbearing age should use effective birth control methods during and after busulfan treatment. There is a risk of birth defects if a women becomes pregnant and either partner is being treated with busulfan. Women should not become pregnant while being treated with busulfan. Talk to your prescriber or health care professional about how this medicine can affect your ability to have normal babies.

Drink several glasses of water a day. This will help to reduce possible kidney problems.

Busulfan can discolor your skin and nails, especially if you have a dark complexion.

Where can I keep my medicine?
Busulfan injection will be given to you in a hospital or clinic setting. You will not take this medicine at home.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 16.02.
Revision date: June 22, 2011
Last revised: by Amalia K. Gagarina, M.S., R.D.

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CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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