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Lomustine (CCNU, CeeNu)

Article Translations: (Spanish)

How does this medicine work?

Lomustine (low-mus-teen) destroys cancer cells in all phases of cell life.

How is it given?

Lomustine is given by mouth. It comes in capsule form and is usually given once every 6 to 8 weeks in the hospital or clinic. Sometimes this medicine is given at home. To make up a proper dose, capsules in up to 3 different strengths may be given. Your child should be awake and alert when taking any medicine.

___ For children who cannot swallow capsules:

  1. Put on gloves.
  2. Open the capsule inside a clear plastic bag.
  3. Mix the powder with a very small amount (1 teaspoon) of soft food, such as applesauce, ice cream, yogurt, chocolate syrup, or jelly. Make sure your child takes all of the mixture.
  4. Wash spoons and container right after use. Discard the plastic bag and gloves.

Do not mix medicine into hot drinks, because the heat may destroy its effectiveness.

Are there any precautions about food or other medicines?

Lomustine should be taken on an empty stomach to reduce nausea and to help the body absorb and use it.

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

What should I do if a dose is missed?

If a dose is missed, give it as soon as you remember that day. Never give a double dose.

If your child throws up within 30 minutes after receiving a dose, give it again. If your child vomits after 30 minutes, do not repeat the dose. Call the oncology clinic if more than one dose is missed or vomited.

What are the side effects?


  • low blood
  • cell counts


  • nausea, vomiting
  • loss of appetite for several days after the nausea and vomiting
  • hair loss
  • mouth sores


  • sleepiness
  • confusion
  • loss of muscle coordination
  • liver, lung, or kidney damage
  • secondary cancer
  • blindness caused by lack of function in the brain's vision area

When should I call the doctor?

  • fever, chills
  • sore throat
  • mouth sores
  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • shortness of breath
  • dry cough
  • continued vomiting
  • swelling of feet or lower legs
  • confusion
  • 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 counts are lowest at 4 to 6 weeks after the medicine is given.

Good mouth care will help prevent mouth sores.

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.

Always make sure you have enough medicine on hand. Each time you refill the prescription, check to see how many refills are left. If no refills are left the pharmacy will need 2 or 3 days to contact the clinic to renew the prescription.

Before giving the first dose, read the label. Be sure it is what was prescribed. After a refill, if the medicine looks different to you, ask your pharmacist or call the oncology clinic before giving it.

Check the label for the expiration date. Bring outdated or extra medicines back to the clinic or pharmacy for disposal. Do not flush them down the toilet or throw them in the garbage.

Store all medicines in their original containers and away from direct sunlight or heat. Do not store in humid places such as the bathroom. Keep them out of children's reach, locked up if possible. If too much or the wrong kind of chemotherapy medicine is taken, call the oncology clinic right away. If your child is unconscious or has a seizure, call 911.


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 

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