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Vincristine (Oncovin)

Article Translations: (Spanish)

How does this medicine work?

Vincristine (vin-kris-teen) is used to destroy cancer cells by interfering with a specific phase of cell life.

How is it given?

Vincristine is given by slow IV push in the hospital or clinic.

What are the side effects?


  • hair loss
  • tingling in hands and feet
  • loss of reflexes in ankles and feet
  • muscle weakness
  • jaw pain
  • constipation


  • low blood counts
  • seizures
  • low-grade fever

Tissue burns may occur if the medicine leaks from a vein or implanted port.

When should I call the doctor?

  • fever higher than 101.5º F (38.4º C)
  • chills
  • bleeding, unusual bruising
  • tingling or weakness of hands or feet
  • jaw pain that acetaminophen (Tylenol® or another brand) does not help
  • no bowel movement for 2 days or more
  • seizures

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.

A high-fiber diet and stool softener can help prevent or treat constipation.

Most neurologic effects (such as 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.

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.

Check with the doctor, nurse practitioner, or pharmacist before giving any other prescription or non-prescription medicines, herbs, or vitamins.


This is not specific to your child, but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call the oncology clinic or pharmacy.

Reviewed 8/2017

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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 Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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