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Carmustine Implant

What is this medicine?

CARMUSTINE, BCNU (kar MUS teen) is a chemotherapy drug. It is used to treat glioma and glioblastoma. The wafers are placed at a site where a brain tumor used to be, at the end of a surgery to remove the tumor.

How should I use this medicine?

This drug is placed into the space made when a tumor is removed. It is administered during surgery in a hospital.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

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

  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue

  • signs of infection - fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine

  • agitation

  • breathing problems

  • changes in emotions or moods

  • changes in vision

  • confusion

  • headache

  • problems with balance, talking, walking

  • seizures

  • stiff neck and sensitivity to light

  • swelling of the ankles, feet, hands

  • tremor

  • unusually weak or tired

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

  • constipation

  • hair loss

  • nausea, vomiting

  • trouble sleeping

What may interact with this medicine?

Interactions are not expected.

What if I miss a dose?

This does not apply.

Where should I keep my medicine?

This drug is given in a hospital and will not be stored at home.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

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

  • bleeding problems

  • infection

  • an unusual or allergic reaction to carmustine, BCNU, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives

  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant

  • breast-feeding

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor for checks on your progress. You will need to have regular blood work. Report any side effects.

In some cases, you may be given additional medicines to help with side effects. Follow all directions for their use.

Call your doctor or health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. This drug decreases your body's ability to fight infections. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.

Avoid taking products that contain aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen unless instructed by your doctor. These medicines may hide a fever.

Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine.

Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Akin, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith, RN, MSN, FNP, CCRC
Last Review Date: 8/23/2013
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.