Vincristine should be administered only into a vein. However, it may leak into surrounding tissue causing severe irritation or damage. Your doctor or nurse will monitor your administration site for this reaction. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: pain, itching, redness, swelling, blisters, or sores in the place where the medication was injected.
Vincristine should be given only under the supervision of a doctor with experience in the use of chemotherapy medications.
Why is vincristine prescribed?
Vincristine (brand name-Oncovin, Vincasar, Vincrex) is an FDA-approved treatment for leukemia (cancer of the white blood cells), Hodgkin’s lymphoma (Hodgkin’s disease), and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (types of cancer that begin in a type of white blood cells that normally fights infection).
It is also useful in combination with other chemotherapy drugs to treat Wilms tumor (a type of kidney cancer that occurs in children), neuroblastoma (a cancer that begins in nerve cells and occurs mainly in children), and rhabdomyosarcoma (cancer that forms in muscles in children).
Vincristine is in a class of vinca alkaloids medications. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells in your body.
Let us walk you through the key things you need to know about Vincristine.
How should I take vincristine or Oncovin?
Vincristine comes as a solution (liquid) to be injected into a vein by a doctor or nurse in a medical facility. It is usually given once a week. The length of treatment depends on the types of drugs you are taking, how well your body responds to them, and the type of cancer you have.
You need to tell your doctor how you are feeling during your treatment with vincristine injection.
Your doctor may tell you to take a stool softener or laxative to help prevent constipation during your treatment with vincristine injection.
Do not stop taking Vincristine without talking to your doctor. You can help them by tracking your side effects in Ankr.
What are the side effects of vincristine or Oncovin?
Common side effects
- Vomiting (Emesis)
- Sores in the mouth and throat
- Appetite loss (Anorexia)
- Abnormal weight loss
- Abdominal Pain (Bellyache)
- Diarrhea (Loose stools)
- Hair Loss (Alopecia)
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Increased or decreased urination
- Swelling of the face, arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- Pain, numbness, burning, or tingling in the hands or feet
- Muscle or Joint Pain (Arthralgia)
- Sudden changes in vision, including loss of vision
- Hoarseness or loss of ability to speak loudly
- Sore throat
- Other signs of infection
Vincristine 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).
What special precautions should I follow?
Before receiving vincristine or Oncovin
- tell your doctor about your allergies
- tell your doctor about other intakes
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had a disease, symptom, or treatment
While you are on vincristine or Oncovin
- you should know that vincristine may interfere with the normal menstrual cycle (period) in women and may temporarily or permanently stop sperm production in men.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. You should not become pregnant or breastfeed while you are receiving vincristine injection. If you become pregnant while receiving vincristine injection, call your doctor. Vincristine may harm the fetus.
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 https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
- Vincasar® PFS
- Leurocristine Sulfate
This branded product is no longer on the market. Generic alternatives may be available.
Last Revised – 04/02/2023, FDA-updated-04/21/2022, SG
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