Translations available: Spanish
How does this medicine work?
Vinblastine (vin-blass-teen) is a chemotherapy medicine that destroys cancer cells by interfering with a specific phase of the cell life.
How is the medicine given?
Vinblastine is given into a vein (IV) in the hospital or clinic.
What are the side effects?
- low blood cell counts (higher chance of getting an infection –wash hands often)
- hair loss (hair most often grows back when vinblastine is stopped)
- muscle weakness
- tingling of hands and feet
- loss of reflexes in ankles and feet
- mouth irritation or sores
- skin rash
- jaw pain
- bone pain
- loss of appetite
- nausea, vomiting
Vinblastine can cause severe tissue burn if the medicine leaks from a vein or implanted port.
When should I call the doctor?
- fever or chills
- sore throat
- no stool (bowel movement) for 2 days or more
- jaw pain not helped by acetaminophen (such as Tylenol®)
- unusual bruising
- tingling, numbness, or weakness of hands or feet
- signs of allergic reaction:
- sudden rash or hives
- trouble breathing - call 911
What else do I need to know?
All caregivers should wear gloves when handling urine, stool, and vomit while your child is receiving the chemotherapy and for 48 hours afterward. Urine, stool, and vomit can be safely disposed of in septic tanks and the sewer system.
Any clothing or bed linens that are contaminated with urine, stool, or vomit should be washed separately from other laundry in hot water and detergent. Anyone handling the contaminated laundry should wear gloves.
Blood samples will be needed to check the effects of the vinblastine. Blood counts are lowest one week after the medicine is given. Most neurologic effects (jaw pain, tingling, and muscle weakness) improve after stopping or decreasing the dosage of the medicine. A physical therapist may work with you and your child on an exercise program to prompt nerve recovery and regain strength.
A high-fiber diet, more liquids, or a stool softener may be given to prevent or treat constipation.
You and your child should know the names of all the medicines he or she is taking. Share this information with anyone involved in your child's care.
This is not specific to your child but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call the oncology clinic or pharmacy.
Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
Last reviewed 8/2015
This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Family Resource Center library, or visit www.childrensmn.org/educationmaterials.
© 2019 Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota