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Dacarbazine (DTIC, DIC, imidazole carboxamide)

Article Translations: (Spanish)

How does this medicine work?

Dacarbazine (da-kar-bah-zeen) is a chemotherapy medicine that destroys cancer in all phases of cell life.

How is the medicine given?

Dacarbazine is given into the vein (IV) in the hospital or clinic.

What are the side effects?


  • low white blood cell counts
  • low platelets


  • nausea, vomiting
  • hair loss
  • metallic taste at the time of infusion
  • irritation at the site of infusion


  • flu-like symptoms:
    • fever
    • headache, body aches
    • tiredness
  • sunburn


  • liver problems
  • diarrhea
  • redness in the face
  • skin rash

There may be a burning or irritation of the vein if it is given into a peripheral IV in a hand.

When should I call the doctor?

  • fever, chills
  • cough, sore throat
  • bleeding, unusual bruising
  • continued vomiting or diarrhea
  • severe headache
  • dark urine or yellow skin or eyes
  • skin rash
  • signs of allergic reaction:
    • sudden rash or hives
    • itching
    • wheezing
    • trouble breathing - call 911

What else do I need to know?

Sucking on hard candy while receiving dacarbazine may reduce an unpleasant taste.

Blood counts begin to drop 3 to 7 days after dacarbazine is given and may be at their lowest 2 to 4 weeks after therapy. Blood counts will be followed closely.

Flu-like symptoms may last up to 2 to 4 weeks after therapy.

This medicine may make your child's skin more sensitive to the sun. Use sunscreen and avoid sunlamps and tanning beds.

Take care of your child's teeth.

Remember to wash hands often and avoid people who are sick.

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.

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.

Last reviewed by Children's pharmacy 8/2015

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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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