Advertisement

Generic Name:

vinblastine, Injectable solution

All Brands

  • Velban (Discontinued)
A discontinued drug is a drug that has been taken off the market due to safety issues, shortage of raw materials, or low market demand.
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for vinblastine

Injectable solution
1

Vinblastine is an injectable drug that’s used to treat certain types of cancers. These include Hodgkin’s disease, lymphocytic leukemia, mycosis fungoides, testicular cancer, Kaposi’s sarcoma, and histiocytic lymphoma.

2

This drug should only be given by intravenous route (into your vein) by your healthcare provider in a clinic or hospital. You won’t inject this drug at home.

3

You should keep all of your appointments to get your medication. Not receiving your medication on schedule can cause convulsions or serious and permanent damage to your nerves and brain.

4

Vinblastine will affect your blood cells. Your doctor will monitor your complete blood cell counts during treatment.

5

Common side effects include hair loss, jaw pain, and pain in the body parts affected by the cancer. They also include high blood pressure, muscle weakness, and constipation.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA warning

This drug has a Black Box Warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients to potentially dangerous effects.

Injection warning. This drug should only be given to you by a healthcare provider who is experienced in giving vinblastine. This drug should only be given by an intravenous (IV) route. Any other route may be fatal. It’s extremely important to position the needle properly into your vein before this drug is injected. If the drug leaks into surrounding tissue, it may cause irritation and skin infection. 

Low white blood cells

You shouldn’t use this drug if you have significant granulocytopenia (a decrease in a type of white blood cell). This drug can affect your white blood cells. Your doctor will check your white blood cell count before starting and during treatment with vinblastine.

Cardiovascular problems

This drug may cause serious problems such as heart attack, chest pain, and changes to blood clotting.

Infection

This drug can raise your risk of infection. Try to avoid crowds or people who are sick. You shouldn’t use vinblastine if you have a bacterial infection. Tell your doctor if you have symptoms of an infection, such as:

  • a sore mouth or throat
  • fever
  • chills

What is vinblastine?

Vinblastine is a prescription drug. It’s available as an injectable solution, which is only given by a healthcare provider.

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you need to take it with other drugs.

Why it's used

Vinblastine is used to treat the following types of cancer:

  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • lymphocytic lymphoma
  • histiocytic lymphoma
  • mycosis fungoides
  • testicular cancer
  • Kaposi’s sarcoma
  • Letterer-Siwe disease (histiocytosis X)
  • resistant breast cancer
  • choriocarcinoma

How it works

Vinblastine belongs to a class of drugs called vinca alkaloids. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They are often used to treat similar conditions.

Vinblastine works by stopping cancer cells from separating into two cells. This stops the growth of cancer cells.

Advertisement
SECTION 2 of 5

vinblastine Side Effects

Injectable solution

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with vinblastine include:

  • hair loss

  • constipation

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • diarrhea

  • numbness in your fingers or toes

  • headache

  • convulsions

  • bleeding from your rectum

  • hearing loss

  • bone pain in your arms and legs

  • jaw pain

  • dizziness

  • pain and swelling at the site where the drug is administered

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life-threatening or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • high blood pressure. Your doctor may check your blood pressure before and during treatment with vinblastine.

  • hearing loss. Vinblastine can cause partial or total deafness. This may be temporary or permanent.

  • infection. Symptoms include:

    • fever
    • chills
    • sore throat
    • sores in your mouth
    • unusual bleeding or bruising
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Before starting treatment with vinblastine, make sure that any infections you may have are under control.

Vinblastine does not cause drowsiness.

You may have shortness of breath after receiving your vinblastine injection. This is more common when vinblastine is given with other medications, or if you have a lung disorder.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 5

vinblastine May Interact with Other Medications

Injectable solution

Vinblastine can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. Your healthcare provider will look out for interactions with your current medications. Always be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, herbs or vitamins you’re taking. 

Food interactions

Don’t eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while taking vinblastine. The level of the drug in your system may be increased. This raises your risk of drug side effects.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Vinblastine warnings
liver disease
People with liver disease

Your doctor may reduce your dose of vinblastine. This is because liver damage can increase the effects of the drug.

low white blood cell count
People with a low white blood cell count

Your doctor may reduce your dose of vinblastine or temporarily stop the medication if you have a low white blood cell count. It’s normal for this drug to decrease your white blood count, but it should increase after 10 days. You shouldn’t receive another dose of this drug until your white blood cell count is at least 4,000/mm3.

coronary heart disease
People with coronary heart disease

Talk to your doctor about whether this drug is safe for you. This drug may cause serious problems such as heart attack, chest pain, and changes to blood clotting.

Pregnant women
Pregnant women

Vinblastine is a category D pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Studies show a risk of adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. The risks of taking the drug during pregnancy may outweigh the potential benefits in certain cases.

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Vinblastine should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Women who are breast-feeding
Women who are breast-feeding

It isn’t known if vinblastine passes into human breast milk. If it does, it may cause serious effects in a child who is breastfed.

You should not breastfeed your child while taking this drug because of the adverse effects the drug could cause to your baby.

For seniors
For seniors

Seniors may be more likely to have pain and swelling at the site where the drug is administered. Your doctor should watch closely for these problems during your treatment with this drug.

When to call the doctor
When to call the doctor

Tell your doctor right away if you have a fever, chills, a sore throat, or sores in your mouth.

Allergies
Allergies

Serious allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) can happen in people who receive vinblastine injection. Anaphylaxis is a serious medical emergency that can be fatal and must be treated right away. Your healthcare provider will give you drugs before your vinblastine infusion to reduce your risk of an allergic reaction.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include:

  • trouble breathing
  • sudden swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • trouble swallowing
  • hives (raised bumps) or skin rash

If you have a reaction, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it before. Taking it a second time after an allergic reaction could be fatal.

SECTION 4 of 5

How to Take vinblastine (Dosage)

Injectable solution

Your doctor will determine a dose that’s right for you based on your individual needs. Your general health may affect your dose. Tell your doctor about all health conditions you have before your doctor or nurse administers the drug to you.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Vinblastine comes with serious risks if you don't take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

Your cancer may get worse.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

You are at increased risk of side effects from the drug. If you think you’ve been given too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

What to do if you miss a dose/appointment

Your doctor will schedule your weekly doses of vinblastine. It’s important to stick to that schedule and receive your doses as directed by your doctor. If you miss an appointment, call your doctor and reschedule it as soon as you can.

How to tell the drug is working

Your doctor will monitor your cancer growth and blood cells while you’re receiving this drug. They’ll be able to tell if vinblastine is working for you.

Vinblastine is a short-term drug treatment.

Your doctor will schedule weekly doses

It’s important to stick to that schedule and receive your doses as directed by your doctor.

How long does it take?

Your doctor will let you know how long it will take to administer the medication. Your doctor may ask you to stay for a time after your appointment. This allows your doctor to monitor your response to the drug.

Can I drive home after?

You can drive home after treatment.

Travel

Your doctor will schedule your weekly doses of vinblastine. It’s important to stick to that schedule and receive your doses of vinblastine as directed by your doctor. Talk to your doctor if you’re planning to travel. You may need to plan your travel around your vinblastine schedule.

Clinical monitoring

You will be monitored during treatment. Your doctor will do blood tests to check your complete blood cell count and other factors. Your doctor will also check how well your liver is working. These tests will be done before you receive each dose of vinblastine, and at other times during your treatment with this drug.

SECTION 5 of 5

How Much Does vinblastine Cost?

Injectable solution

We've partnered with GoodRx so you can compare prices, find discounts and save up to 80% on your next prescription. Check out the low coupon prices below — no insurance required.

Compare prices and save up to 80% on your next refill!

Lowest price for vinblastine

Membership warehouse $47.04
Safeway $47.04
Kroger Pharmacy $50.84
These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for vinblastine on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

Enter your zip code to find the best deal near you.

These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for vinblastine on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

Show Sources

  • Vinblastine sulfate- vinblastine sulfate injection. (2012, January). Retrieved from http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=f073b58e-56d6-4c8d-a2ce-b37719402d77

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on August 28, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement