Lomustine (Generic Name)

Other Names: CCNU

About this drug

Lomustine is used to treat cancer. It is given by mouth (orally).

Possible side effects

  • Bone marrow depression. This is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. It may increase your risk for infection, fatigue, and bleeding.
  • Nausea and vomiting. These effects may occur 2 to 6 hours after a dose of the drug and may last for up to 24 hours.
  • Soreness of the mouth and throat. You may have red areas, white patches, or sores that are painful.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in lung tissues. These changes, which may occur with high doses of this drug, may not be permanent, and your lung tissue may return to normal. Sometimes these changes may not be seen for years. You may develop a cough or have difficulty catching your breath.
  • Changes in kidney function. Your kidney function will be checked as needed.
  • Increased risk of developing another cancer (rare)
  • Sexual problems and reproductive concerns. This drug may temporarily or permanently affect the ability to have children for both men and women. This cannot be determined before therapy. In men, this drug may interfere with the ability to make sperm, but it should not change the ability to have sexual relations. In women, menstrual bleeding may become irregular or stop while receiving this drug. Even if you don’t have a menstrual period, it’s still possible to become pregnant. Women also may have signs of menopause, like vaginal dryness or itching.
  • Effects on an unborn child. This drug may have harmful effects on an unborn child. Use effective methods of birth control during your cancer treatment. Genetic counseling is available to you to discuss the effect of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. If it turns out that you are pregnant or become pregnant, talk with a genetic counselor. He or she can review the potential risks to the fetus.

Treating side effects

  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine that is available to help prevent or lessen nausea and vomiting.
  • Mouth care is very important. Your mouth care should consist of gentle brushing with a very soft toothbrush and rinsing your mouth with a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon of salt or 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in 8 ounces of water. This should be done at least after every meal and at bedtime. Avoid mouthwash that contains alcohol. Avoid alcohol and smoking because they can irritate your mouth and throat.
  • Vaginal lubricants can be used to lessen vaginal dryness, itching, and pain during sexual relations.
  • Speak with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children. Ask for information on sperm or egg banking.

Food and drug interactions

Avoid drinking alcohol for 1 hour after taking lomustine with food. This drug may interact with other medicine. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of the medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs, and others) that you are currently taking. The safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often unknown. Using these might unexpectedly affect your cancer or interfere with your treatment. Until more is known, you should not use dietary supplements or alternative diets without your cancer doctor’s advice.

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor or nurse immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Temperature of 100.5 F (38 C) or above
  • Chills
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Trouble breathing
  • Uncontrolled nausea that prevents you from eating or drinking
  • Vomiting more than 3 times in 1 day
  • Jaw tightness or trouble swallowing or saying words
  • Confusion

 

Call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty walking or changes in the way you walk
  • Dry cough that is persistent
  • Nausea not helped by prescribed medicine
  • Painful mouth or throat, or discomfort when eating or drinking
  • Persistent loss of appetite or rapid weight loss (more than 5 pounds in 1 week)
  • Extreme fatigue that interferes with normal activities

Other instructions

Whenever you tell a doctor or nurse your health history, always tell them that you have received lomustine.

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