Vinorelbine (Generic Name)

Other Names: Navelbine®, vinorelbine tartrate

About This Drug

Vinorelbine is used to treat cancer. This drug is given intravenously (IV).

Possible Side Effects (More Common)

  • Bone marrow depression. This is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Bone marrow depression usually occurs five to seven days after the drug is given and may increase your risk of infection, fatigue, and bleeding.
  • Mild to moderate nausea and vomiting
  • Mild hair loss or thinning. You may notice hair thinning several days after receiving this drug. Usually hair loss is temporary; your hair should grow back when treatment is completed.
  • Skin and tissue irritation. You may have redness, pain, warmth, or swelling at the IV site. This irritation occurs if the drug leaks out of the vein and into surrounding tissue.
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Decreased appetite
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Changes in liver enzymes. Liver enzymes will be checked as needed.
  • Effects on the nerves called peripheral neuropathy. You may feel numbness or tingling in your hands and feet. It may be difficult for you to button your clothes, open jars, or walk normally. The effect on the nerves may get worse with additional doses of the drug. These effects get better in some people after the drug is stopped but it may not get better in some people.
    • Be careful when cooking, walking, and handling sharp objects and hot liquids.

Possible Side Effects (Less Common)

  • Sudden pain at the tumor site immediately or within 30 minutes after receiving this drug. The pain may last for a few minutes or up to an hour.
  • Soreness of the mouth
  • Difficulty walking or changes in the way you walk.
  • Jaw pain

Sexual Problems and Reproductive Concerns

  • In men and women both, this drug may temporarily or permanently affect your ability to have children. This cannot be determined before your therapy.
  • In men, this drug may interfere with your ability to make sperm, but it should not change your ability to have sexual relations.
  • In women, menstrual bleeding may become irregular or stop while you are receiving this drug. Do not assume that you cannot become pregnant if you do not have a menstrual period. Women may experience signs of menopause like vaginal dryness or itching.
    • Pregnancy warning: This drug may have harmful effects on the unborn child, so effective methods of birth control should be used during your cancer treatment.
    • Speak with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children.  Ask for information on sperm or egg banking.
    • Genetic counseling is available to you to discuss the effects of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. In addition, a genetic counselor can review the potential risks of problems in the fetus due to this medication if an exposure during pregnancy has occurred.
    • Breast feeding warning: Women are advised not to breast feed during treatment because this drug could enter the breast milk and seriously harm a breast feeding infant.

Treating Side Effects

  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medication to help prevent or lessen nausea and vomiting.
  • Drink 6-8 cups of fluids every day unless your doctor has told you to restrict your fluid intake due to another medical condition. A cup is 8 ounces of fluid. If you vomit or have diarrhea, you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated.
  • Check with your doctor or nurse before you use enemas, laxatives, or suppositories. During the IV infusion, if you experience pain, redness, or swelling at the site of the IV infusion, please tell your nurse immediately.
  • Speak with your nurse about obtaining a wig before you lose your hair. Also, call the American Cancer Society at 800-ACS-2345 to find out information about the “Look Good...Feel Better” program close to where you live. It is a free program where women undergoing chemotherapy learn about wigs, turbans and scarves as well as makeup techniques and skin and nail care.
  • Be careful when cooking, walking, and handling sharp objects and hot liquids.

Food and Drug Interactions

There are no known interactions of any food and Vinorelbine. This drug may interact with other medication. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medication 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.

Allergic Reactions

Serious allergic reactions including anaphylaxis are rare.

Tell your doctor or nurse immediately if you have any of the following symptoms during the time you are receiving this drug:

  • Difficulty catching your breath
  • Feeling like your tongue or throat are swelling
  • Feeling your heart beat rapidly (palpitations)
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Flushing/itching/rash/hives

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
  • Difficulty catching your breath
  • Rash or itching, dizziness or lightheadedness, or palpitations
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Uncontrolled nausea that prevents you from eating or drinking
  • Vomiting more than three times in one day
  • Redness, pain, warmth, or swelling at the IV site
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat

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

  • Painful mouth or throat that makes it difficult to eat or drink
  • Nausea unrelieved by prescribed medication
  • Pain in arms or legs unrelieved by prescribed medication
  • Numbness, tingling, or decreased sensation in fingers and toes
  • Difficulty walking or changes in the way you walk
  • Clumsiness in buttoning clothes, opening jars, or other routine activities
  • Muscle weakness
  • No bowel movement for three days or if you become uncomfortable
  • Abdominal pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Pain in fingers or toes
  • Persistent loss of appetite or weight loss of five pounds or more in one week
  • Extreme tiredness that interferes with normal activities

Revised December 2011

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