Bleomycin (Bleocin)

The Basics

Bleomycin (brand name- Bleocin, Blenoxane) is an FDA-approved treatment for head and neck cancer (including cancer of the mouth, lip, cheek, tongue, palate, throat, tonsils, and sinuses) and cancer of the penis, testicles, cervix, and vulva (the outer part of the vagina). Bleomycin is also useful to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma (Hodgkin’s disease) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer that begins in the immune system cells) in combination with other medications. It is also helpful to treat pleural effusions (a condition when fluid collects in the lungs) due to tumours.

Bleomycin is a type of antibiotic that is only useful in cancer chemotherapy. It slows or stops the growth of cancer cells in your body.

Let us walk you through all the key things you need to know about bleomycin.

Make sure you read IMPORTANT WARNING section at the end of this article.

How should I take bleomycin (Bleocin)?

Patient getting IV chemotherapy

Bleomycin comes as a powder to be mixed with liquid and injected into a vein, muscle, or under the skin by a doctor or nurse in a medical facility. When bleomycin is used to treat pleural effusions, the mix is placed in the chest cavity through a chest tube (plastic tube that is placed in the chest cavity through a cut in the skin).

Be sure to tell your doctor how you are feeling during your treatment with bleomycin injection.

Do not stop taking bleomycin without talking to your doctor. You can help them by tracking your side effects in Ankr.

What are the side effects of bleomycin or Bleocin?

Common Side effects

Serious side effects

Bleomycin may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication. If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

Use the free Ankr platform or Ankr app to track your symptoms.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking bleomycin or Bleocin

  • tell your doctor about your allergies.
  • tell your doctor about other intakes
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney or lung disease.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding.

While you are on bleomycin or Bleocin

  • you should not become pregnant while you are receiving bleomycin injection. If you become pregnant while receiving bleomycin, call your doctor. Bleomycin may harm the fetus.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are receiving bleomycin.

I forgot a dose. What should I do?

If you miss an appointment to receive bleomycin, call your doctor as soon as possible.

In case of an emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

Brand names

  • Blenoxane®
  • Bleocin

This branded product is no longer on the market. Generic alternatives may be available.

Last Revised – 03/07/2023, FDA-updated – 03/11/2019, SG

Bleomycin may cause severe or life-threatening lung problems. Severe lung problems may occur more commonly in older patients and in those receiving higher doses of this medication. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had lung disease. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, wheezing, fever, or chills.

Some people who have received bleomycin injection for the treatment of lymphomas had a severe allergic reaction. This reaction may occur immediately or several hours after the first or second dose of bleomycin is given. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: difficulty breathing, fever, chills, fainting, dizziness, blurred vision, upset stomach, or confusion.

You will receive each dose of medication in a medical facility and your doctor will monitor you carefully while you are receiving the medication and afterwards.

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain tests to check your body’s response to bleomycin.

Get 24×7 support for bleomycin (Bleocin)

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DISCLAIMER: No part of this content constitutes medical advice, opinion, or should be used for medical decision making without consultation with a licenced medical practitioner and under a patient-provider relationship. All information on the website is provided without any claims of accuracy. For full terms and conditions, visit this link. Content curated by the Ankr team.

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