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Chlorambucil (Leukeran)

by Mathew Marshall
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Chlorambucil (Leukeran)

Warnings: There can be severe side effects associated with Chlorambucil. This medication is used to treat cancer, but it may also increase your risk for developing another form of cancer. This medication can also decrease how well your bone marrow functions, lowering your ability to fight infection. Talk to your doctor immediately if you develop swollen glands, lumps or signs of infection (fever, chills persistent cough, sore throat or cough), unusual fatigue or unusual bleeding/bruising.
This drug may also damage genes and cause birth defects. It may also leave men and women unable to produce children in the future.

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Indications: This medication is used to treat certain types of cancer such as lymphoma and leukemia. It is a chemotherapy drug that stops or slows cell growth.

There are other uses that healthcare professionals have used this drug for, but it has not been approved for. Consult your doctor before using it for any of these treatments. It has been used for certain blood diseases, certain types of kidney disease in children that have not responded to other treatments and other conditions as prescribed by your doctor.


Storage: Keep Chlorambucil tightly closed and out of reach of children. Keep the medication in a dry place at room temperature and away from excess heat and humidity. It is not recommended to keep Chlorambucil in the bathroom. For more information, talk to your physician or pharmacist.

Dosage: Take Chlorambucil by mouth as directed by your doctor. You should drink plenty of fluids while on this medication to avoid certain side effects. The dosage is based on your height, weight and response to therapy. You shouldn’t increase or decrease the dosage without first consulting your doctor. By increasing your dosage your condition will not improve any faster, but the risk of serious side effects will go up.

This drug is able to be absorbed through the skin, so women that are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant should not handle the breaking of these pills or handle them.

Overdose: It is very important to avoid Chlorambucil overdose. As all chemotherapy drugs, chlorambucil can cause serious health problems including the development of other types of cancers. If you think you have taken an overdose of the drug, you should immediately contact your doctor or the poison control center nearest you. A health care provider can give you an antidote, symptomatic treatment or blood transfusion to slow or stop the toxic effects of the medication.

Missing dose: Chlorambucil can be taken one or several times per day. If you have been recommended to take the drug once a day and you miss a dose until the next day, do not double the dose. If you have been recommended to take medication several times a day and forgotten until the next dose, skip the missed dose; do not double the dose. Don’t ever take less or more of the prescribed dose.

Contraindication: Tell your doctor about any allergies you may have, as the inactive ingredients in this treatment may cause an allergic reaction. You should also tell your doctor of all the medications that you are using.

Do not have any immunizations while on this medication, and avoid contact with people that have recently had the oral polio vaccination.

Use more caution with razor blades and contact sports to avoid serious injuries and cuts. Caution needs to be implemented when using this drug on children; it may cause infertility later in life as well as seizures when treated for kidney disease. Chlorambucil is not recommended for use by pregnant women, as it can cause serious birth defects.

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Interactions: Before using this medication tell your doctor of all the treatments that you are using. This drug should not be used with nalidixic acid because it can cause serious side effects. If you are currently using this medication, consult your doctor before using Chlorambucil. You should also tell your doctor of the use of drugs that may induce seizures when combined with this medication.

Side effects: In addition to causing death of cancer cells, Chlorambucil tends to interfere with healthy cells that multiply quickly, and cause adverse effects; the most common chlorambucil side effects of include:

  • fatigue
  • hair loss
  • dry skin
  • mouth blistering
  • decreased appetite
  • constipation or diarrhea
  • skin disorders: rash, itching
  • Taste changes or metallic food taste.

Although rare, Chlorambucil can cause serious side effects which require immediate medical attention; contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • persistent fever
  • sore throat
  • red urine
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • congestion
  • shortness of breath or breathing discomfort
  • fainting (temporary loss of consciousness)
  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Infection, which can be indicated by fever or sore throat.

Useful tips:  The chance to not suffer side effects of chemotherapy is very minimal. Whether you are male or female, you have an increased to experience side effects during and after chemotherapy: skin problems, nausea, intestinal problems, vomiting, loss of appetite, extreme fatigue, impotence, etc. However, there are steps you can take to eliminate or reduce these effects and improve the quality of your life. During and after chemotherapy, you can practice these preventive measures:

  • avoid sun exposure
  • consume a good nutrition
  • do not drink alcohol
  • drink plenty of cool water; this helps to prevent dry mouth and kidney problems
  • relax, if necessary, take a nap in the afternoon; it helps prevent fatigue and immune deficiency
  • chew sugar free chewing gun to keep your lips hydrated and your breath fresh
  • if you have pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, apply ice to it, and notify your physician
  • to reduce or prevent nausea and vomiting, drink iced tea or ginger tea; this practice can restore your stomach to normal functioning
  • eat plenty of fresh fruit especially strawberries, grapes, cantaloupe, apple, …
  • avoid fried and fatty foods; highly scented is also contraindicated
  • If you feel down, try to distract yourself: watch / listen to a funny broadcast radio or television. You can also have a conversation with someone that can make you laugh.
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