|Type of medicine||Alkylating drug|
|Used for||Chronic myeloid leukaemia
Before stem-cell transplantation
|Available as||Tablets and intravenous infusion|
Busulfan is used to treat chronic myeloid leukaemia (also called chronic granulocytic leukaemia) which is a type of cancer where the number of white cells in your blood increases. It is also used for some other types of blood cell or bone marrow problems.
Busulfan is also used during preparation for stem-cell transplantation which is when blood cells growing in a healthy donor's bone marrow are transferred to help produce healthy cells in your bone marrow.
It works by preventing the growth and division of cells and therefore it reduces the number of new blood cells your body makes.
Before taking busulfan
Before taking busulfan make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you are male and you and your partner are trying for a baby or intend to have children in the future.
- If you suffer from porphyria (a rare blood disorder).
- If you are receiving or have recently received radiotherapy.
- If you have liver problems.
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal or complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or any other medicine.
How to take busulfan
- Before beginning treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet.
- Take busulfan exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not break, crush or chew the tablets.
- Try to take busulfan at the same time each day to avoid missing any doses.
- If you forget to take a dose, take one as soon as you remember as long as it is the same day. Do not take a double dose on the next day to make up. If in doubt, speak with your clinic or doctor.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Important: you must avoid getting pregnant or fathering children while you are taking busulfan. Ask your doctor, hospital or pharmacist about suitable contraception.
- You must keep your regular appointments with the doctor or hospital so your progress can be checked. You will need to have regular blood tests during your treatment with busulfan.
- While you are taking busulfan and for a while after you stop treatment, do not have any immunisations (vaccinations) without talking to your doctor first. Busulfan lowers the body's resistance and there is a chance that you may get an infection from the vaccine.
- If you are having any treatment like an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking busulfan.
- Do not stop taking this medicine without speaking to your doctor first.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with this medicine.
Can busulfan cause problems?
Along with their useful effects all medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this|
|Feeling or being sick||Eat little and often. Stick to simple foods. If this continues talk to your doctor as you may be advised to split your dose into smaller amounts throughout the day|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluid. If this continues talk to your doctor as you may be advised to split your dose into smaller amounts throughout the day|
|Mouth ulcers, hair loss, dark patches of skin, stopped periods in women||Talk to you doctor if any of these become troublesome|
Important: if you experience any of the following speak with your doctor immediately or go to your local accident and emergency department without delay:
- Unexpected bruising, bleeding or a high temperature
- Any sign of fever or infection
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes with darker than usual urine
- Difficulty breathing or painful breathing
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store busulfan
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
- Return any unused or unwanted tablets to your pharmacy to destroy. They will need special disposal.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 58th Edition (September 2009) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Myleran® Tablets 2 mg; Manufacturer's PIL, Myleran® Tablets 2 mg, GlaxoSmithKline UK, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated September 2008, accessed February 2010.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen|
|Last Checked: 17/06/2010||Document ID: 3335 Version: 22||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.