How does this medicine work?
Melphalan (mel-fa-lan) is used to treat certain types of cancer. It interferes with the growth of cancer cells, causing them to be destroyed.
How is it given?
Melphalan is given into the vein (IV) during a hospital stay or may be taken by mouth.
Melphalan should be taken at regular times to keep a steady level in the bloodstream. Your child should be awake and alert when taking any medicine by mouth.
For children who cannot swallow tablets:
- Put on gloves.
- Crush the tablet in a tablet crusher or between 2 spoons inside a clear plastic bag.
- Mix the powder with a very small amount (1 teaspoon) of soft food, such as applesauce, chocolate syrup, ice cream, jelly, or yogurt. Make sure your child takes all of the mixture.
- Wash spoons and container right after use. Discard the plastic bag and gloves.
What should I do if a dose is missed?
If one dose is missed, give it as soon as you remember. Never give a double dose.
If your child vomits within 30 minutes after receiving a dose, give it again. If your child vomits after 30 minutes, do not repeat the dose. Call the oncology clinic if more than one dose is missed or vomited.
Are there any precautions about food or other medicines?
The tablet should be taken on an empty stomach (1 hour before or 2 hours after eating. Do not give it with H-2 blockers such as ranitidine (Zantac®)
Check with the doctor, before giving any other prescription or non-prescription medicines, herbs, or vitamins.
What are the side effects?
- low blood counts
- nausea and vomiting
- hair loss
- mouth sores
- sore throat
- skin rash
- missed menstrual periods
- unusual bruising or bleeding
- damage or scarring of lung tissue
- low blood pressure
- inability to have children
- secondary cancer or leukemia
- allergic reaction