Drugs A - Z

Carmustine Implant

It is used to treat glioma and glioblastoma

Generic Name: carmustine

Brand Names: BiCNU

There is an FDA Alert for this drug. Click here to view it.

    Warning Information for IV Carmustine
  • Use under supervision of a qualified clinician experienced in therapy with antineoplastic agents.
  • Risk of bone marrow suppression (e.g., thrombocytopenia, leukopenia), resulting in bleeding and infection. Bone marrow toxicity is delayed and cumulative. Monitor CBCs weekly during and for at least 6 weeks following each dose; do not administer more frequently than every 6 weeks. Adjust subsequent dosages based on nadir blood counts from previous dose. (See Dosage Modification for Toxicity under Dosage and Administration.)
  • Risk of dose-related pulmonary toxicity. Cumulative doses >1400 mg/m2 associated with substantially greater risk. Delayed pulmonary toxicity can occur years after treatment and result in death, particularly in patients treated during childhood.

What is this medicine?

CARMUSTINE, BCNU (kar MUS teen) is a chemotherapy drug. It is used to treat glioma and glioblastoma. The wafers are placed at a site where a brain tumor used to be, at the end of a surgery to remove the tumor.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • bleeding problems
  • infection
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to carmustine, BCNU, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

This drug is placed into the space made when a tumor is removed. It is administered during surgery in a hospital.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

This does not apply.

What may interact with this medicine?

Interactions are not expected.

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor for checks on your progress. You will need to have regular blood work. Report any side effects.

In some cases, you may be given additional medicines to help with side effects. Follow all directions for their use.

Call your doctor or health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. This drug decreases your body's ability to fight infections. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.

Avoid taking products that contain aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen unless instructed by your doctor. These medicines may hide a fever.

Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • signs of infection - fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine
  • agitation
  • breathing problems
  • changes in emotions or moods
  • changes in vision
  • confusion
  • headache
  • problems with balance, talking, walking
  • seizures
  • stiff neck and sensitivity to light
  • swelling of the ankles, feet, hands
  • tremor
  • unusually weak or tired

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

  • constipation
  • hair loss
  • nausea, vomiting
  • trouble sleeping

Where should I keep my medicine?

This drug is given in a hospital and will not be stored at home.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.


Last Updated: August 23, 2013
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