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Using of L-PAM

Brand Name(s): Alkeran, L-PAM

Generic Name Melphalan

What are melphalan tablets?

MELPHALAN (Alkeran®) is a type of chemotherapy for treating cancer. Melphalan interferes with cell growth and treats cancers of the ovaries and bone marrow. Generic melphalan tablets are not yet available.

What should my health care professional know before I take melphalan?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • bleeding problems
  • blood disorders
  • dental disease
  • gout
  • infection (especially virus infection such as chickenpox or herpes)
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • recent radiation therapy
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to melphalan, other chemotherapy, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I take this medicine?

Take melphalan tablets by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow the tablets with a drink of water. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Finish the full course prescribed by your doctor or health care professional, even if the tablets make you feel unwell. Your dosage schedule will depend on the type of cancer being treated. Some cancers require many months of therapy. Do not stop taking except on your prescriber's advice.

Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, miss that dose and continue with your regular schedule. Do not double the next dose. If you vomit after taking a dose, call your prescriber or health care professional for advice.

What drug(s) may interact with melphalan?

  • immune globulins
  • interferon alfa
  • live virus vaccines and killed virus vaccines

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including nonprescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from taking melphalan?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • black tarry stools
  • blood in the urine
  • chest pain
  • difficulty breathing, wheezing
  • fever or chills, cough or sore throat
  • lower back pain
  • pain or difficulty passing urine
  • unusual bleeding or bruising, pinpoint red spots on your skin
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • diarrhea
  • hair loss
  • missed menstrual periods
  • mouth ulcers
  • nausea
  • skin rash, itching

What should I watch for while taking melphalen?

Visit your prescriber or health care professional for checks on your progress. You will need to have regular blood checks. The side effects of melphalan can continue after you finish your treatment; report side effects promptly.

Melphalan may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon because melphalan affects good cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects as above, but continue your course of medicine even though you feel ill, unless your prescriber or health care professional tells you to stop.

While you are using melphalan, you will be more susceptible to infection. Try to avoid people with colds, flu, and bronchitis. Do not have any vaccinations without your prescriber's approval and avoid anyone who has recently had oral polio vaccine.

Call your prescriber or health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat. Do not treat yourself.

Melphalan can cause blood problems. This can mean slow healing and a risk of infection. Try to avoid cutting or injuring yourself. Problems can arise if you need dental work, and in the day to day care of your teeth. Try to avoid damage to your teeth and gums when you brush or floss your teeth.

If you are going to have surgery, tell your prescriber or health care professional that you are taking melphalan.

Melphalan can change male sperm or female eggs. Talk to your prescriber or health care professional about how this medicine can affect your ability to have normal babies.

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 25 °C (59 and 77 °F). Protect from light and moisture. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.


(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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