vinblastine sulfate

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vinblastine sulfate (VLB)

Pharmacologic class: Vinca alkaloid

Therapeutic class: Antineoplastic

Pregnancy risk category D

Drug should be administered only by individuals experienced in giving it. Make sure needle is positioned properly in vein before injecting drug. Leakage into surrounding tissue during I.V. administration may cause considerable irritation. If it does, discontinue injection immediately and inject remaining portion of dose into another vein. To treat extravasation, administer local injection of hyaluronidase and apply moderate heat to affected area.


Arrests mitosis and blocks cell division, interfering with nucleic acid synthesis. Cell-cycle-phase specific.


Lyophilized powder for injection: 10-mg vial

Indications and dosages

Hodgkin's disease; advanced testicular cancer; lymphoma; AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma; bladder cancer; renal cancer; non-small-cell lung cancer; melanoma; breast cancer; choriocarcinoma; histiocytosis X; mycosis fungoides

Adults: 3.7 mg/m2 I.V. weekly; may increase to a maximum of 18.5 mg/m2 I.V. weekly, based on response. Withhold weekly dose if white blood cell (WBC) count is less than 4,000 cells/mm3. May increase dosage in increments of 1.8 mg/m2 if needed, but not after WBC count drops to approximately 3,000 cells/mm3.

Dosage adjustment

• Hepatic impairment


• Hypersensitivity to drug
• Significant granulocytopenia from causes other than disease being treated
• Uncontrolled bacterial infections
• Intrathecal use
• Elderly patients with cachexia or skin ulcers


Use cautiously in:
• hepatic or pulmonary dysfunction, renal disease with hypertension, malignant-cell infiltration of bone marrow, neuromuscular disease
• females of childbearing age
• pregnant or breastfeeding patients (use not recommended).


Follow facility protocol for handling and preparing chemotherapeutic drugs. Take special care to avoid eye contamination.
• Know that patient is usually premedicated with antiemetic.

Give by I.V. route only. (Intrathecal injection is fatal.)
• Reconstitute powder in 10-mg vial with 10 ml of normal saline solution for injection, to a concentration of 1 mg/ml. Refrigerate solution and protect from light; discard after 28 days.
• Inject I.V. dose into tubing of running I.V. line, or inject directly into vein over about 1 minute.
• Avoid extravasation, which may cause tissue necrosis. If extravasation occurs, stop injection, inject hyaluronidase locally, and apply moderate heat.

Adverse reactions

CNS: headache, malaise, depression, paresthesia, loss of deep tendon reflexes, peripheral neuropathy and neuritis, cerebrovascular accident, seizures

CV: hypertension, tachycardia, myocardial infarction

EENT: pharyngitis

GI: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, bleeding ulcer, abdominal pain, stomatitis, anorexia, paralytic ileus

GU: aspermia

Hematologic: anemia, thrombocytopenia, leukopenia

Metabolic: hyperuricemia, syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion

Musculoskeletal: bone pain, muscle pain and weakness

Respiratory: shortness of breath, acute bronchospasm, pulmonary infiltrates

Skin: alopecia, skin irritation

Other: weight loss; jaw pain; tumor site pain; sloughing, cellulitis, and phlebitis at I.V. site; tissue necrosis (with extravasation)


Drug-drug.Erythromycin, other CYP450 inhibitors: increased vinblastine toxicity

Mitomycin: increased risk of bronchospasm and shortness of breath

Phenytoin: decreased phenytoin blood level

Patient monitoring

Assess respiratory status closely. Drug may cause acute shortness of breath and bronchospasm, especially in patients who previously received mitomycin.
• Check injection site for extravasation.
• Monitor blood pressure.
• Assess CBC. Stay alert for signs and symptoms of infection.
• Monitor closely for numbness and tingling of hands or feet and other adverse reactions.

Patient teaching

• Explain drug therapy to patient. Emphasize importance of follow-up laboratory tests.
• Tell patient to promptly report signs and symptoms of infection and to take his temperature daily.
• Inform patient that drug may cause pain over tumor site.
• Instruct female of childbearing age to avoid pregnancy. Caution her not to breastfeed during therapy.
• Encourage patient to practice good oral hygiene to help prevent infected mouth sores.
• Inform patient that hair loss is a common side effect but typically reverses after treatment ends.
• As appropriate, review all other significant and life-threatening adverse reactions and interactions, especially those related to the drugs mentioned above.

vin·blas·tine sul·fate

(vin-blas'tēn sŭl'fāt),
A dimeric alkaloid obtained from Vinca rosea. It arrests mitosis in metaphase (although vincristine is more active in this respect) and exhibits greater antimetabolic activity than does vincristine; used in the treatment of Hodgkin disease, choriocarcinoma, acute and chronic leukemias, and other neoplastic diseases; blocks microtubule assembly.
Synonym(s): vincaleucoblastine

vinBLAStine sulfate

[vinblas′tēn, -tin]
an antimitotic antineoplastic.
indications It is prescribed in the treatment of many neoplastic diseases, such as choriocarcinoma, testicular carcinoma, lung cancer, breast cancer, renal cancer, Hodgkin's disease, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
contraindications Leukopenia, bacterial infection, or known hypersensitivity to this drug prohibits its use. It is not prescribed in pregnancy and should not be administered intrathecally.
adverse effects Among the typical adverse effects are leukopenia (dose-limiting toxicity), nausea, diarrhea, stomatitis, and alopecia. Neurotoxicity seldom occurs at usual clinical doses but can become significant at higher doses. VinBLAStine is a vesicant, so prompt attention is required if extravasation occurs.

vinblastine sulfate

(vin-blas′tēn″) [ Vinca, a genus name + (leuko)blast + -ine]
A fraction of an extract obtained from the periwinkle plant, Vinca rosea, a species of myrtle. It is a cytotoxic agent used in treating certain types of malignant tumors.


Like other cytotoxic drugs, vinblastine should be handled with barriers to protect the administrator. It must be disposed of in environmentally sound containers.
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