This medication is used to treat certain types of cancer (including multiple myeloma, brain tumor, Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma). Carmustine belongs to a class of drugs known as alkylating agents. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells.
How to use Carmustine Vial
This medication is given by slow injection into a vein by a health care professional. It is given as directed by your doctor, usually every 6 weeks. The dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to treatment.
Carmustine is the generic name for the trade name drug BiCNU®. In some cases, health care professionals may use the trade name BiCNU® when referring to the generic drug name carmustine.
Drug type: Carmustine is an anti-cancer (“antineoplastic” or “cytotoxic”) chemotherapy drug. This medication is classified as an “alkylating agent.” (For more detail, see “How this drug works” section below).
What Carmustine Is Used For:
- Used to treat certain types of brain tumors; glioblastoma, brainstem glioma, medulloblastoma, astrocytoma, ependymoma and metastatic brain tumors.
- Other cancers treated with carmustine include multiple myeloma, Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas, and may be used on the skin (topically) for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.
Note: If a drug has been approved for one use, physicians sometimes elect to use this same drug for other problems if they believe it may be helpful.
How Carmustine Is Given:
- Carmustine is usually given by an infusion into a vein (intravenous, IV).
- There is no pill form of this medication.
- There is a form of this medication (Gliadel® wafer) that can be placed and left in the cavity after surgical removal of a brain tumor. The carmustine wafer allows for delivery of the drug directly to the site of the brain tumor. (See separate listing “carmustine wafer” for more details regarding this formulation).
- The amount of carmustine that you will receive depends on many factors, including your height and weight, your general health or other health problems, and the type of cancer or condition being treated. Your doctor will determine your dose and schedule.
Important things to remember about the side effects of carmustine:
- Most people do not experience all of the side effects listed.
- Side effects are often predictable in terms of their onset and duration.
- Side effects are almost always reversible and will go away after treatment is complete.
- There are many options to help minimize or prevent side effects.
- There is no relationship between the presence or severity of side effects and the effectiveness of the medication.
- The side effects of carmustine and their severity depend on how much of the drug is given. In other words, high doses may produce more severe side effects.