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AlkeranGeneric name: Melphalan
Trade name: Alkeran
Drug type: Alkeran is one of a group of drugs called alkylating agents. It sticks To one of the cancer cell's DNA (the cell's genetic code) strands. DNA is the genetic code that is in the heart of all animal and plant cells. It controls everything the cell does. The cell cannot then divide into 2 new cells. Melphalan is a treatment for several different types of cancer, including multiple myeloma, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Its brand name is Alkeran. It is one of a group of drugs called alkylating agents. It sticks to one of the cancer cell's DNA (the cell's genetic code) strands. DNA is the genetic code that is in the heart of all animal and plant cells. It controls everything the cell does. The cell cannot then divide into 2 new cells. Melphalan is a clear liquid that you have as a drip (intravenous infusion) through a small tube in a vein in your arm, or through a central line. It also comes as white tablets that you take on an empty stomach. You should store your tablets in the refrigerator. You usually have chemotherapy as a course of several cycles of treatment. The treatment plan for melphalan depends on which cancer you are being treated for.
Common side effects
Many people have one or more of the following side effects
Contact your hospital if you have any of these bone marrow side effects.
Important points to remember
The side effects above may be mild or more severe. A side effect may get
Some side effects are inconvenient or upsetting but not damaging to your health. Some side effects are serious medical conditions and need treating.
Tell your doctor about any other medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbal supplements and other over the counter remedies - some drugs can react together.
Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse about all your side effects so that they can help you manage them. Your chemotherapy nurse, clinic or ward nurse will have given you a contact number. You can ring if you have any questions or problems. They can give you advice or reassure you. If in doubt, call them.
Immunisations and chemotherapy
You should not have immunisations with live vaccines while you are having chemotherapy or for at least 6 months afterwards. In the UK, these include rubella, mumps, measles (usually given together as MMR), BCG and yellow fever. You can have other vaccines, but they may not give you as much protection as usual until your immune system has fully recovered from your chemotherapy.
It is perfectly safe for you to be in contact with other people who've had live vaccines as injections. There can be problems with oral vaccines, but no one in the UK is given an oral vaccine now. So there is no problem in being with any baby or child who has recently had any vaccination in the UK. If you live abroad, you might need to make sure that you aren't in contact with anyone who has had oral polio or oral typhoid vaccination recently.
Copyright Cancer Research UK 2002
Cancer Research UK Charity Number 1089464
|Last Updated on Thursday, 21 January 2010 08:47|