Lomustine chemically interferes with the synthesis of genetic material (DNA and RNA) of cancer cells, which prevents these cells from being able to reproduce and continue the growth of the cancer.
Lomustine is taken orally (in pill form). The dosage is typically 100 to 130 mg per square meter of body surface area once every 6 weeks. Lomustine should be taken on an empty stomach just prior to bedtime to prevent possible nausea and/or vomiting. Patients should avoid alcohol one hour before and shortly after taking lomustine.
Lomustine can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Patients with a prior allergic reaction to lomustine should not take this drug.
Lomustine can cause harm to the fetus if a woman is taking this drug during pregnancy. Women of childbearing potential should use appropriate contraceptive measures to prevent pregnancy while on lomustine. There have been reports of infertility in men taking this drug due to testicular damage.
It is not known if lomustine is excreted in breast milk. Because of the potential of severe adverse effect, it is recommended that breastfeeding women should discuss with their physician the risk versus benefit of breast-feeding while taking lomustine.
Common side effects of lomustine include nausea and/or vomiting, as well as an increased susceptibility to infection due to decreased production in the cells that fight infections. Patients should avoid crowds or exposure to any individuals who may have infections. Also, an increased risk of bleeding can occur due to decreased production of the platelets that are involved with the blood clotting process.
A doctor should be consulted immediately if the patient experiences any of the following effects:
Paul A. Johnson, Ed.M.
—A drug that prevents the growth of a neoplasm by interfering with the maturation or proliferation of the cells of the neoplasm.
—New abnormal growth of tissue.
—A disease characterized by enlargement of the lymph nodes and spleen.