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Brand names:

Belrapzo, Bendeka, Treanda, Vivimusta

Other names:


Often used for:

Leukemia, lymphoma

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What is bendamustine?

Bendamustine is a type of chemotherapy. It works by slowing or stopping the growth of cells. It is usually used in combination with other medicines.

Your child will have regular blood draws to check blood counts and liver and kidney function. This medicine can cause heart damage, so your child’s heart function will be closely monitored.

Bendamustine can cause tissue damage or blisters if it leaks from the vein. Tell your care team if there is skin irritation or burning at the IV site.


Given as a liquid into a vein by IV or injection

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Possible side effects

  • Low blood counts (may cause increased risk of infection, bleeding, anemia and fatigue)
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Headache
  • Skin rash, redness, or dryness
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Fever
  • Abdominal (belly) pain
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Heartburn
  • Mouth sores
  • Change in taste
  • Night sweats
  • Increased sweating
  • Problems sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Bone, joint, or muscle pain
  • Skin irritation at the IV site
  • Liver problems
  • Fertility problems (These may be temporary or long-term.)
  • Tumor lysis syndrome

Infusion-related reactions: Symptoms may include chills, shortness of breath, coughing, dizziness, low blood pressure, pain in the chest, swelling of the face or neck

Not all patients who take bendamustine will have these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Please report all symptoms or side effects to your doctor or pharmacist.

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Possible late effects

Some treatment may cause medical problems that continue or develop months or years after therapy ends. These may include:

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Tips for patients and families

Be sure to discuss all questions and instructions with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Some patients may have a reaction to this medicine. Let your care team know know about any symptoms during the infusion.
  • Your care team may prescribe medicine to reduce nausea and vomiting.
  • This medicine can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of infection. Wash hands often, keep patient areas clean, and avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • This medicine may cause mouth sores. Good dental hygiene, a soft food diet, lip care, and ice therapy can help prevent and treat mouth sores. Your care team may prescribe a mouth rinse to keep the mouth clean and help with irritation.
  • This medicine may make your child dizzy or drowsy. 
  • Your child may bleed more easily. Brush teeth gently with a soft toothbrush, use an electric razor to shave, and avoid activities that can cause injury.
  • Bendamustine may increase the risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopy (PML), a rare brain infection. Talk to your doctor or get medical help right away if these symptoms occur: confusion, memory loss, headache, vision or speech changes, loss of balance or coordination, weakness on one side of the body, or changes in mood or behavior.
  • Bendamustine can affect your child’s ability to get pregnant or to father a child. Talk to your doctor about the risk of fertility problems and options for protecting fertility.
  • Sexually active patients should take steps to prevent pregnancy during treatment and for 6 months after completion of therapy.  
  • Patients should tell their doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Take steps to protect caregivers and family members from drug hazards. Follow instructions for chemotherapy safety. Avoid contact with patient body fluids, which can contain the drug for 48 hours after it is given.

Learn more about bendamustine